Statements a senior Microsoft manager recently made about implications of potential post-Brexit hardware import tariffs for the company’s data center plans in the UK are not its official position, a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement emailed to Data Center Knowledge.
The company issued the statement after multiple online outlets published reports Monday on comments by Owen Larter, Microsoft’s UK government affairs manager, who said new tariffs on data center hardware imports from overseas could drive the company to revise its aggressive data center construction plans in the country.
Larter was speaking about a hypothetical scenario and did not make any definitive statements about the company’s plans. Although the UK government is likely to negotiate new international trade deals as it leaves the European Union, no official negotiations have started.
The purpose of Microsoft’s official statement seems to be to stave off any concerns about the company’s planned investment in the UK:
“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.”
The webinar, in which Larter made the statements, has been removed from Channel 9, a website operated by a group of Microsoft technologists that hosts deep technical discussions on a range of Microsoft-related topics. The webinar's title was What Brexit Means for Tech.