Brexit is less worrying, or the specific impact is so far unknown, when it comes to other Europe issues close to U.S. technology companies’ hearts, such as antitrust enforcement, a tax crackdown and the quest for engineering talent across the region. But one thing is clear: The U.K. has been more favorable to U.S. technology interests, and without that influence, nations like France and Germany, which are less aligned with the U.S., are likely to take greater control of EU policy.
“That will shift the balance of power more towards countries where the state plays a bigger role,” said James Waterworth, European vice president for the CCIA, which lobbies for Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft and other U.S. tech companies. “That is not the ideal approach for fast-moving sectors like the high-technology and internet sectors.”
Google will be especially hard-hit, said Gary Reback, a Silicon Valley attorney who has represented Google rivals that have complained about the company to EU antitrust authorities. Google has invested heavily in U.K. operations and tried to build relationships with the government of out-going U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron to increase its political clout in the region, he noted. “Their ploy to control the European Union through influence in Britain has been wiped out,” Reback said.
Google declined to comment on the impact of Brexit, as did Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon.