“Today President Biden is taking decisive action to reduce the trend of corporate consolidation, increase competition, and deliver concrete benefits to America’s consumers, workers, farmers, and small businesses,” is how the White House described an executive order signed by the president on Friday.

Its title is “Promoting Competition in the American Economy“, and its 72 separate initiatives from more than 12 federal agencies are not JUST about big technology companies – healthcare, financial services and agriculture are also in its targets.

But among those that will provoke particular consternation for Big Tech: the way the order calls for the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission to “enforce the antitrust laws vigorously and recognizes that the law allows them to challenge prior bad mergers that past Administrations did not previously challenge”.

Later in the order, it hones in on “big tech platforms purchasing would-be competitors”; “gathering too much personal information” on their users; and “unfairly competing with small businesses” when they run their own platforms.

Apple, Facebook, Google and Amazon are clearly among the companies potentially affected by greater scrutiny and tougher regulation, but even smaller companies like Spotify – which has seen itself more as complainer than complained-about in antitrust circles – could fall under some of this.

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