clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Amazon is courting Alexa developers with free AWS services

A smart move since Alexa developers don’t have a way to make money.

Latest Consumer Technology Products On Display At CES 2017 David Becker / Getty
Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

Most developers still don’t have a way to make money from the apps they develop for Amazon’s Alexa voice service. So Amazon is giving out freebies to take some of the financial burden off of the people building its fledgling ecosystem.

The company announced today that Amazon Alexa developers can apply to receive $100 in monthly credits for costs related to their usage of cloud computing services from Amazon’s AWS unit. Amazon said many Alexa developers are already using a free tier of AWS, but this promotion will help those who end up going over the limits of that tier.

Amazon says the promotional credits “will make it free for tens of thousands of Alexa developers to build and host most Alexa skills using Amazon Web Services (AWS).” While the promotion means most Alexa developers will essentially get to build and host using AWS for free, there are some “outliers” who incur more AWS costs than the promotion covers, a spokesperson said. She added that there “is not a specified end date to this program.”

The move comes at a time in which Amazon and Google are competing for mindshare among both consumers and developers with their Alexa and Google Assistant voice assistant services, respectively. While developers have created more than 10,000 “skills” — essentially voice apps — for Amazon’s Alexa, a majority have little to no usage, a recent study found.

VoiceLabs co-founder Adam Marchick, whose startup conducted the study, previously told Recode that he expects either Amazon or Google to introduce a way for developers to monetize their voice apps sometime before July.

Marchick also said he believes that voice apps that have communication or social network-related features will end up being popular. Recode reported recently that Amazon plans to release new Alexa devices that can make phone calls and work as intercom systems.

This article originally appeared on

Sign up for the newsletter Today, Explained

Understand the world with a daily explainer plus the most compelling stories of the day.