Microsoft has dismissed comments from a senior UK staffer who had said that Brexit could force the firm to abandon its UK data centre expansion plans.
The now-refuted comments came from Microsoft's UK government affairs manager Owen Larter, who was speaking on a webinar entitled 'What Brexit Means for Tech' where he stated that changes introduced from Brexit could make the UK less attractive for investment.
"We're really keen to avoid import tariffs on any hardware. Going back to the datacenter example, we're looking to build out our data centres at a pretty strong lick in the UK, because the market is doing very well," he said.
"If all of a sudden there are huge import [tariffs] on server racks from China or from Eastern Europe, where a lot of them are actually assembled, that might change our investment decisions and perhaps we build out our data centres across other European countries."
Larter also warned that any restrictions on the transfer of data could cause issues, adding: "The UK is actually the EU's largest cloud market at the moment, and is set to double by 2019.
"That kind of bright future is probably not going to be possible if we make it a lot harder to transfer data and store data from the EU into UK data centres."
Microsoft was quick to distance itself from Latner's comments by saying it has no plans to put the brakes on its UK expansion plans.
"The comments reported today by a Microsoft employee were not reflective of the company's view. As we have said both before and after the EU referendum vote, Microsoft's commitment to the UK is unchanged. In particular, those customers in our UK data centres should continue to rely on Microsoft's significant investment plans there," the company said.
"We have more than 5,000 highly qualified people working in fields including support, marketing, gaming, communications, cybersecurity and computer science research. We've built a global centre of excellence for the development of artificial intelligence and other computing disciplines.
"We've also worked in partnership with innovators, entrepreneurs and people with a passion for technology to help to create a thriving partner network of around 25,000 British businesses. Most recently we've just launched some of our most innovative technology, HoloLens, here in the UK and established a research group in Cambridge to support its evolution."
The webinar also appears to have been deleted, with the page now displaying a "Page Not Found" message.
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