back to article We're not quitting the UK: Microsoft quashes Brexit fake news

Microsoft has committed itself to the UK after comments by a manager were ripped out of context. In a Channel 9 webinar last week explaining Brexit to Microsoft customers not familiar with the details, Owen Larter, government affairs manager at Microsoft UK, expressed optimism for post-Brexit UK's digital economy. Asked …

  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "That bright future will not be possible if we cannot transfer data into UK data centres," said Larter.

    However, Larter said the government had made the right noises

    DRIPA is the right noises? I'd hate to think what "wrong" might mean for him.

    More likely it's is a veiled hint: "Smarten up or we're out of here.".

  2. Jess

    Multinationals won't be quitting the UK

    They will need to separate their UK and EU businesses.

    You can't have your EU HQ and data centres outside the EU/EEA.

    Those with EU HQs outside the UK are likely to set up UK offices, which will offset the downsizing of those with HQs currently here. Though I suspect we are going to lose far more than we gain.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Multinationals won't be quitting the UK

      Though I suspect we are going to lose far more than we gain.

      How so? Microsoft have a "deal" with HMRC such that for the five years 2012-2017, they avoid paying £100m a year in UK taxes. Half a billion quid of tax evaded, through the greed of Microsoft, and stupidity and complicity of UK tax administrators.

      I want all socially irresponsible tax dodging companies like Microsoft to shove off, and if Brexit achieves that then I'll be delighted. Maybe Slurp could relocate to Ireland, who are involved in both the Microsoft UK tax avoidance, and of course their own sweetheart deal with Apple? We can then watch from the sidelines how the EU and Ireland settle their little contretemps over tax. And the British government could do their bit by using the British Virgin Islands as the next test site for Trident. Time it right and we'd even evaporate Beardo.

      1. Chris Miller

        Microsoft's 'secret' tax 'deal'

        A pity Tim Worstall (late of this parish) isn't here to point out to you the error of your ways. Here's his Forbes article on the subject.

        1. Hans 1 Silver badge

          Re: Microsoft's 'secret' tax 'deal'

          @Chris

          Tim Worstall has absolutely no clue on economic matters, in general, Forbes does not like my ad blocker, so I cannot judge on this specific case.

          In general, these big corps use the rules to engage in tax avoidance. Here is a Financial Times article on the matter, way more reliable (again, I cannot judge Tim's article by the contents this time, but if the garbage he has written in the past on this site is anything to go by and if he has not taken economics classes in the mean time, it would be a waste of my time ... and, I don't want their ads):

          https://www.ft.com/content/bc2eb5dc-955f-11e6-a1dc-bdf38d484582

          1. Tim Worstal

            Re: Microsoft's 'secret' tax 'deal'

            The specific agreement that Microsoft has with HMRC is an "advance pricing agreement."

            In layman's terms this is M asking HMRC "Iz we obeying the law?" and HMRC sending back a letter saying "As far as we can see, yes."

            This is not an outrage.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Microsoft's 'secret' tax 'deal'

              No, it's not an outrage.

              I, personally, as an individual, have a request in for an advance acceptance of my actions being correct and seeking confirmation of how the tax authorities will treat the situation.

              There are lots of reasons aside from transfer pricing (almost anything to do with bilateral taxation treaties actually) that one might make such a request.

              I certainly don't see myself as "avoiding tax", merely acquiring some certainty as to how much I will pay. As a resident of multiple countries, there is a bit of a fight about to which country I pay tax.

        2. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: Microsoft's 'secret' tax 'deal'

          @ Chris Miller

          I too miss Tim on here. I do read his Forbes articles but it was fun to read the meltdowns when he posted for the reg.

      2. Snorlax Silver badge

        Re: Multinationals won't be quitting the UK

        "How so?"

        Because you would have to be pretty naive not to expect English-speaking EU countries like Ireland, Malta and Cyprus to go after U.K.-based financial and IT companies?

        If you got rid of all the socially irresponsible tax-dodging companies like Microsoft and Apple, you'd be back to bartering chickens and running Linux. Now who wants that?

      3. macjules Silver badge

        Re: Multinationals won't be quitting the UK

        Personally I would regard any tax accountant as a godsend, who knew exactly when to offer HMRC settlement of up to half of what is owed, just in time for the HMRC inspectors personal bonus evaluations. Blame the incompetence of the puffed-up HMRC bureaucrats, not the companies that take advantage of a corrupt 1920's era tax collection system.

      4. RegGuy1 Silver badge

        I want all socially irresponsible tax dodging companies like Microsoft to shove off...

        and if they could take their pile of poo OS with them, life would be far better too.

  3. AndGregor
    FAIL

    If Windows 10 is a sign of the M$ times..

    Off you got to Europe. Good riddance !

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If Windows 10 is a sign of the M$ times..

      Call me a nut, but I don't see why the entire Country of Great UK does not chuck out all of the dirty, foreign IT kit in favour of good old homemade Raspberry Pi in a 1cpu for 1cpu swap! It can be done. It might get ugly before it gets pretty, but there you go. Bob's your uncle, Fanny's your aunt.

      "You know these local web sites are a bit slower, but at least they're are own!"

      "Yes, I've had worse. In the war."

      "Does this meat look, I don't know, funny to you?"

      "I've had worse. In the war."

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: If Windows 10 is a sign of the M$ times..

        Raspberry Pi = a Japanese CPU fabbed in China ?

        I say we reopen the Clyde shipyards and build a massive analytical engine - powered by steam

        1. wolfetone

          Re: If Windows 10 is a sign of the M$ times..

          "I say we reopen the Clyde shipyards and build a massive analytical engine - powered by steam"

          Birmingham built steam power is better than anything the Scottish can come up with.

          Birmingham: The Workshop of the World.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It looks like the new US/UK trade deal may allow for unlimited migration from the US - plus ca change, as we'll no longer say.

  5. All names Taken
    Joke

    It is all a cunning ploy!

    It is just Whitehall's way to get its hands on your pension pot hahhah?

  6. PNGuinn
    Trollface

    A new post breksit IT czar ....

    Well, grubbymint IT has been such a success with everyone working under the yoke of slurp's systems, hasn't it? Forget the tax issues - what about all the licence gouging and maintenance / upgrade costs?

    I suggest we need a shiny new IT czar to shake 'em all up a bit.

    I humbly suggest that the grubbymint offers the job to a nice, quiet spoken bloke who won't suffer fools, It'd be right up Linus's street.

    Give him total control. It be worth it whatever we had to pay him. The comedy value of squirming usual suspects and civil servants choking in their troughs as an extra morale booster.

    Hey - Mrs Mayhem - get in quick before Trump nabs him - looks like Mr Galliano's circuss tent is about to fall down.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: A new post breksit IT czar ....

      > It'd be right up Linus's street.

      Isn't he a bit european-ish ?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Going nowhere

    "we're hoping to see a data liberalisation aspect"

    One slurp to rule them all.

    Of course they will be staying, they are probably the easiest route into business data for the agencies as no other software needs to be installed.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Going nowhere

      "Of course they will be staying, they are probably the easiest route into business data for the agencies as no other software needs to be installed."

      Only as a UK office for UK-only business. EU customers will have to be served from premises in countries with proper data-protection regulations.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    eh? Aren't servers covered by the WTO Information Technology Agreement

    Aren't servers tariff free any way? There is a zero tariff trade agreement on IT HW & SW at WTO level and EU & China are signatories. So MS concerns unlikely for HW and traditional s/w sales & for IT at least the article suggests tariffs are applied when afaik they aren't.

    Doubt UK as paragon of free trade will drop out of such a major WTO agreement by choice.

  9. Potemkine

    Note for the European Negociator

    Block transfer of data into UK data centres.

  10. EnviableOne Silver badge

    And revoking PPD28 is really going to promote data sharing, especially if we have to maintain GDPR equivalence to get access to EU citizen's private data.

  11. SVV Silver badge

    More Brexit Bad News

    However, they will find that doing business across the EU will be much harder from the UK after it happens. I expect their presence here to start decreasing over time, as doing business across the EU and UK becomes more difficult (and expensive) post Brexit. Let's face it, what's the bgger market - the EU or UK?

    Maybe the "data liberalisation" they want will be offered by politicians desperate to avoid the sight of departing companies and skilled workers. Hey Presto! All your personal info is belong to us.. And probably plenty of others too if things do start going downhill.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fake news - you mean, what ElReg has been doing recently?

    Like when they invented an "EU Space Agency" to try to pile on some more blame on the EU? Then modified the article without notification?

    It's still in the link:

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/01/18/eu_space_agencys_galileo_satellites_stricken_by_mystery_clock_failures/

    Kettle, meet Mr Pot.

    1. Drewc (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Fake news - you mean, what ElReg has been doing recently?

      We made a mistake in the name and when we knew we had made a mistake we corrected the error. We did not and do not consider this a material change to the article - which would merit notice in the article.

      For you to spin that into a fake news accusation is ludicrous.

      1. HausWolf

        Re: Fake news - you mean, what ElReg has been doing recently?

        Just say it was alternate facts.. it's all the rage among rightists here in the states.

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