Microsoft has thrown its corporate weight into the Brexit debate and come out in support of Britain staying in the European Union for the benefits it offers the business world.
The company’s investments in the UK have been down to the nation’s prominence in the EU and ability to carry out business in a flexible way.
“Historically, 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,” said Microsoft UK chief executive Michel Van der Bel.
"At key moments in our international growth we have specifically chosen to invest in our capabilities here in the UK. Most recently, we announced that we would start offering cloud services this year from new UK-based data centres. And as we’ve grown, so too have the UK technology businesses we work with.”
Van der Bel explained that Microsoft’s decision to base a research and development laboratory in Cambridge was down to Britain’s skilled workers and the ability to attract talent from other EU states.
“We appreciate and respect that there are a range of reasons that motivate people on both sides of the debate, but as a business that is very committed to this country our view is that the UK should remain in the EU,” he said.
Microsoft’s declaration of support for staying in the EU is not surprising. Many UK technology companies have declared that leaving the EU would be detrimental to their business and to the health of the UK’s technology industry as a whole.
Arguments for and against a Brexit are varied. Some say that remaining in the EU gives Britain’s large and small businesses the scope to carry out solid trade in the European community without having to compete alone in the huge US and Chinese markets.
However, others maintain that leaving the EU would unleash Britain’s businesses from some of the EU trade regulations that limit the way they carry out business beyond the region.
Britons will vote on EU membership on 23 June, and there will be a choice between ‘better the devil we know’ and embracing the unknown.
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