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Tech firms reel from Leave's Brexit win

'It’s completely unclear where this leaves us in Britain'

BREXIT Tech firms are reeling at British voters’ decision to leave the single European market.

Firms are rattled as Gartner has forecast that Britain’s tech buyers will now stop spending in 2016 and 2017, turning earlier growth numbers negative.

Also of concern, hiring of EU workers, uncertainty over VAT levels and possible new trade tariffs.

Fujitsu chief technology officer Joseph Reger told The Reg: “The Brexit is not something that we desire, it doesn’t help Fujitsu.

“In general, for the IT industry this is not good - the question is how it unfolds and how the industry can recover its position.

"Global business value chains will be more integrated, whilst the current set up is detrimental to that we'll have to see to what extent.”

SAP, Europe’s largest technology firm, told us that it hoped for a positive exit that would take place quickly thereby minimizing the uncertainty to businesses.

SAP told The Reg before the vote, in March, Britain’s membership of the EU brought “beneficial international trade and investment for all parties”.

Microsoft had endorsed the remain cause and blasted Brexiters but contacted by The Reg, refused to provide statment on Friday morning's vote outcome.

Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, also pro remain, told The Reg: "Our focus is on our clients, partners and employees and continuing business as usual... we're used to transformation and change and will work closely with all our stakeholders over the coming months as the terms of the exit become clear.”

Alfresco Software, Britain’s most successful open-source technology firm, lamented the decision.

Company CTO and founder John Newton told The Reg the decision to leave the EU raises huge uncertainties for his firm.

The UK is home to Alfresco R&D; and a customer showcase. The firm employs 400 staff worldwide with a third of its staff in the UK from overseas and more than half of business coming from Europe.

Newton said he is alarmed at the uncertainty now for his business over the hiring of workers from EU nations and on the impact of a possible slow down in spending on IT.

“This [the UK] has been a good place to sell, from marketing, from customer support and for having a base for professional service – that’s now uncertain.

“It’s completely unclear where this leaves us in Britain.

“This was our European base – now there’s greater uncertainty over two years. Two years is within our planning cycle – where do we add offices and hire, that’s now in question.

“I don’t expect us to cut back but to say we will invest, that’s hard to say."

He said Alfresco would now need to review US expansion and growth outside the European Union. ®

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