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Brexit: AWS reinforces commitment to UK datacentre builds

Cloud services giant claims outcome of EU referendum vote has no bearing on its willingness to invest in the UK or Europe

Amazon Web Service (AWS) has restated its commitment to building a datacentre cluster in the UK in the wake of the Brexit vote, while talking up the work its doing to court European independent software vendors (ISVs).

Gavin Jackson, the cloud services giant’s managing director for the UK and Ireland, told attendees at the AWS Summit in London that the outcome of the EU referendum vote will have no bearing on its investment plans for the UK market.

“In light of the post-Brexit vote, I wanted to reassure all of our customers that we see the UK as a fast innovator, and we see the UK as a huge talent pool and a fast adopter of technology trends, and our job at AWS is to help you innovate through technology,” he said.

“We will continue to be an inward investor into the UK and we will continue our path to launch a UK [datacentre] region at the end of this year or the beginning of next year. So our message to everyone in this room is to keep calm and carry on innovating with cloud computing and AWS.”

The canning of the Safe Harbour US data transfer agreement is often cited as the reason why Amazon, Microsoft and others have previously announced plans to build UK datacentres.

However, Amazon.com CTO Werner Vogels revealed how it decision to build facilities in multiple regions of the world is also partly down to its want to help customers grow their own businesses overseas, too.

“We have 13 regions around the world and just launched two more this year in South Korea and India. We'll also launch a second region in China and a second in Ohio, as well as one in Canada, and then – of course – we’ll also launch a region here,” he said.

“For quite a few of our customers, this worldwide capability is essential for them. If you look to lots of younger businesses in the UK, they’re not necessarily targeting just the UK as their only market – they’re targeting the worldwide market.”  

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The company’s commitment to doing business in Europe was also touched on elsewhere at the show, with AWS announcing plans to lift the geographic restrictions on ISVs selling their wares via the AWS Marketplace.

The online store allows users to purchase software and services created by ISVs and hosted in the AWS EC2 cloud.

To sell their wares through the store, European ISVs had to create a US subsidiary first, but the company has now removed this requirement, Vogels confirmed.

“The AWS Marketplace has made significant progress with procurement in Europe. In the past you had to have a US subsidiary to sell through in the AWS Marketplace – that is no longer needed,” he said. “ISVs based in the EU are now able to sell their software through the AWS Marketplace, putting you in front of millions of business using AWS.”

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