Microsoft’s perspective on the EU referendum


Ahead of the referendum in June, we've been asked by employees, customers and partners about Microsoft’s view on the UK's membership of the European Union. As a business in an industry which will be affected by the decision we have carefully examined our position.

First and foremost, we want to emphasise that we firmly believe this is a decision for individual voters to make, based on the issues that are most important to them. 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.

We have a long history here. It's where we opened our first international office in 1982 and we have been investing in the UK ever since. 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.

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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. 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.

For us, the UK’s membership of a wider EU was also a key reason why we chose to invest in our first overseas R&D laboratory in Cambridge. Why? Because we knew that the world-leading scientists we 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.

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.

Your sincerely

Michel Van der Bel

UK CEO
Microsoft Ltd

Comments (4)

  1. James says:

    The EU adds layers of legislation to restrict competition you should be ashamed to it amounts to blackmail stay impartial and pay your taxes and dont take back handers from dodgy dave.

  2. Martin Basil says:

    Forgive me; is this the unbiased “perspective on the EU Referendum” of a Michel Van der Bel, a Dutchman.

  3. Michael, as a company that has massively benefited from being in the UK being in the EU I can completely understand and respect your position. However I would like to point out the simple truth, Microsoft has grown fantastically in the last 30-40 years from it’s disruptive and revolutionary technology, you cannot then recommend blocking others from having the same advantages. This is about progress and if large companies like Microsoft think they can just sit on their profit streams and reap the rewards of EU membership at the expense of the UK, we will be living in a far more dangerous world.

    The truth is companies like Microsoft should be full ready for change and should be encouraging innovation and progress in all its formats and if that means it happens outside of the EU, so be it. Remember the battles you fought to get to where you are and them let others have the same opportunities. That should be the bases of your argument.

    Where you chose to Invest Microsoft money makes little difference to the new opportunities that will arise out of a more progressing and reformed EU. I am not saying in or out, but I am wondering about the bases of your approach to the question.

  4. MikeCL says:

    The UK’s expertise and the fine working environment with reliable cost control and opportunity will make the UK an even better base. The EU is a big market but it’s not a global market…. give us time…

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