SO THAT'S IT then. We're out. The INQ has kept its cards relatively close to its chest up to now. But let me tell you that the mood at INQ Towers today is one of absolute devastation. We're so, so sorry, Europe. We still love you. So does London. So does most of the tech industry.
We're not sure what the coming days and weeks will bring. Right now it's quite terrifying and we're sure that many of you are scared too. After all, we're giving up a lot in the tech sector. Think about it.
For a start, all that battling for fair, and eventually no, roaming charges across Europe was for nought. Prepare to go back to the days of £8/MB data.
Then there's the cookie warnings. It's EU legislation that allows you to opt out of tracking data on individual sites. Yes, they might be annoying, but we need to work out something less annoying to replace it. And quick.
What else? Well, of course, it was the EU that stopped Microsoft dominating the browser market by giving us a compulsory choice of browsers through the browser ballot.
Compulsory two-year warranties on electronics? Gone. Prepare for an influx of tat.
And then there's the tech roundabout in London and its like. Many analysts fear that it's the small businesses trying to compete with the multinationals that could be hurt the most.
Ed Molyneux, CEO of Freeagent, an Edinburgh web company, said: "The ramifications of leaving the EU are going to be huge, especially for small businesses that sell products and services worldwide, rather than just domestically.
"And we now look set for a lengthy period of uncertainty while negotiations presumably take place over the terms of the UK’s exit."
Then there's internet privacy and the safe harbour of data. Where are British companies going to keep their data? The rules are going to have to be rewritten.
A recent study by cyber security experts Blue Coat stated that UK firms trust storage of their data to a French or German data centre, over a British one. We know that GCHQ snoops on UK-harboured data, and the onus to keep it here is going to increase now.
And what about skills? There's a huge shortage of skills in the tech sector. People can't employ coders fast enough.
Bhuwan Kaushik, CEO of IT service provider Spectromax, said: “The impact of the Brexit will be sizeable and long term. There’s a huge IT skills gap in the UK and it’s going to take a number of years to close it.
"Leaving the EU at a time when the UK is in need of skills will be a huge blow to UK businesses, let alone the commercial opportunities that may be lost and could consequently stunt UK startup growth.
"Businesses like ours are doing all we can to generate skills in the local economy through training programmes. The government too intends to allocate funds to formal qualification programmes following the Budget announcement.
"It will take time, however, for these to begin closing the skills gap, and Brexit will only worsen the situation.”
So what happens now? Britain (I refuse to call it 'Great' anymore) never embraced the EU thing 100 per cent, but I don't think anyone really expected us to actually leave.
Google is one company that has hinted that it may move its EMEA headquarters to mainland Europe as a result of Brexit, and it's not alone. The tech skills shortage in the UK means that a great many companies will now consider going where there's a bigger pool to pick from and better deals to be done.
I've been told off by Bojo's people before for not giving him enough credit for his tech-savvies, and I'm obliged therefore to inform you that he might be good for IT.
But then this is a man who can't even wave a flag properly, so in the interest of balance I wish to point out that the world doesn't need another joke premiere candidate with stupid hair.
We're not leaving Europe. We're leaving the EU. But this means that prices are going to go up for deals with companies like Withings, Netatmo, Emtech, OpenXchange, Siemens, Bosch, Nokia, Ericsson, Telefónica, Philips, Orange (I could go on).
So, yeah, we're sad. I could use the occasion to rattle on for ages about how we're stepping back into the Dark Ages and how we should believe in the value of being one people. But we're a tech site. So we'll save it for the pub, where we are undoubtedly going to wash the pain away.
But make no mistake. Brexit will change the tech industry, and probably not for the better. And the people who will suffer the most are the people who just got excited by their BBC Micro:bit and seeing Tim Peake become an astronaut. They are going to find that there's nothing for them, at least while the chaos continues. C'est la guerre. µ
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