Microsoft and HPE come out against Brexit

Leaving EU could damage investment in UK, companies claim

Europe

Microsoft believes the UK should stay in the EU, stating that future investment in the country could depend on its continued membership.

In a blog post, the company's UK CEO, Michel Van der Bel, said the company had chosen to make its position known following repeated enquiries from staff, customers and partners.

Van der Bel said that Microsoft is respectful of the fact there are many reasons why people support either side of the debate, but that "as a business that is very committed to this country" it believes the UK should remain in the EU.

As evidence of the company's commitment to doing business in the UK and the investments it has made here, Van der Bel cited its large workforce and significant partner ecosystem.

He added, however, that the UK being part of the EU "has been one of several important criteria that make it one of the most attractive places in Europe for the range of investments we have made". He gave the example of the decision to locate its first overseas R&D lab in Cambridge, saying it knew that "the world-leading scientists [it] wanted to attract would want and need to work directly alongside other great researchers from across the region".

"This flexibility of doing business attracts the best people, and the investment that follows them, to the UK," Van der Bel said.

"Whatever the outcome of the referendum, we respect the decisions made by UK voters. Our commitment to our staff and business here remains firm, but we also believe the UK remaining in the EU supports important criteria for continued and future investment by Microsoft and others," he concluded.

Microsoft is not the only large tech company believing the UK should remain in the EU, with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) issuing a similar statement today.

In a note to staff reproduced by City AM, Andy Isherwood, managing director and SVP for UK and Ireland at HPE said: "Hewlett Packard Enterprise has concluded that the UK's continued membership of the EU brings a range of positive benefits to our business, our customers, our employees and to the UK economy as a whole.

"These benefits are associated with free trade and access to talent, improved economic stability and consistency in the legislative environment within which we operate across Europe. Combined with its particular capabilities as a global financial and legal centre and the strength of the UK's academic institutions, these benefits have made the UK an attractive investment location for multinational companies like HPE."

"We believe that if the UK were to leave the EU it would be likely to have a detrimental impact on the long-term prospects for employment, research, investment and innovation in this country," Isherwood concluded.

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