Apple's Tim Cook "very optimistic" about Brexit

Obviously he hadn't seen a new MIT study before he met Theresa May...

Apple's Tim Cook "very optimistic" about Brexit

Apple CEO Tim Cook waves at members of the media as he leaves 10 Downing Street in London on Thursday. Picture by Matt Dunham AP/Press Association Images

Beaming in every photo he's posted of his European trip this week – as he enjoys French cuisine and swings by the Berlin Philharmonic – Apple CEO Tim Cook's upbeat mood extended as far as declaring that his company is "very optimistic" about Brexit.

Hopping across the English Channel for a meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May, he told Downing Street that the Cupertino tech giant is a “big believer in the UK" and that, while there could be "bumps in the road along the way", Britain would be "just fine" without the EU.

The 56-year-old Alabamian also told ITV's Good Morning Britain:

"We're doubling down on a huge headquarters in the Battersea area and we're leaving significant space there to expand."

Apple is planning to move 1,600 employees to the south London office by 2021, which the British government has pointed to as an example of how multinationals are still willing to invest in the nation after the Brexit referendum.

A Downing Street spokesperson said of the meeting between Cook and May:

"It was a very positive and useful discussion. Apple have made a recent announcement about their investment in the UK and they had a conversation around that and the importance of government and business on digital skills which going forward will clearly be a huge part of the future industry.

"It was a chance for the prime minister to outline her plans for negotiating our EU exit. It was also a chance for her to reiterate and welcome Apple's investment in the UK."

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, accompanied by headteacher Derek Hewie interacts with Year 2 pupils in a classroom during a visit to Woodberry Down Primary School, north London. Picture by Yui Mok PA Wire/PA Images

Dire new Brexit forecast

The positive notes sounded by the iPhone maker's top dog aren't in harmony, however, with a new study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

MIT's Sloan School of Management has calculated that the negative impact on Britain's gross domestic product per capita will be almost four times that of previous estimates, causing output losses of nearly 10%.

“The cost is going to be way bigger than the amount we currently send to Europe,” John Van Reenen, the British economist who worked on the study, told Bloomberg Television. "By splitting more away from the rest of Europe, we’ll lose foreign investment, we’ll lose some trade and the consequences will actually be negative for our productivity."

Cook in Europe

On Wednesday, Cook received an honorary degree from the University of Glasgow and used his speech to speak out about US President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration.

He said:

"Our simple view is that Apple would not exist without immigration, so this is a huge issue for us. So what do we do? We voice our opinion and stand up - we don’t sit in silence."

The majority of his European visit has been far lighter fare and made for many Kodak (or iPhone camera) moments...