Amazon gives Alexa developers free rein — and free AWS credits
Amazon announced a new program Wednesday that will allow developers to build and host most Alexa skills using Amazon Web Services for free.
Under the new program, developers can apply to receive a $100 AWS promotional credit and can also receive an additional $100 per month in AWS promotional credits if they incur AWS usage charges for their skill, according to the announcement. Developers who already have a published Alexa skill can apply for the promotional credit.
Steve Rabuchin, vice president of Amazon Alexa, said the program will "free up developers to create more robust and unique skills that can take advantage of AWS services."
AWS already offers a Free Tier, which Alexa skill developers can use. The problem is, if developers exceed the AWS Free Tier limits, they may incur AWS usage charges. With the new program, AWS wants to reduce developer concerns that they will rack up charges and allow them to get creative without constraint.
But it also works to the advantage of Amazon. Allowing developers to use its tools is an effective way to encourage the creation of new ideas and applications faster than Amazon could using its own developers.
Amazon is working to grow the developer ecosystem around Alexa and increase the voice activated assistant's capabilities. The more Alexa can do, the easier it will be for Amazon to find other use cases. Perhaps there will even be an easy path for enterprise use of Alexa.
Free services for developers are becoming yet another point of competition among cloud providers. Google announced last week it has improved its free cloud tier and expanded its free cloud trial program, providing more access to cloud services at the developer level. To really bait companies into making a services transition, providers are trying to make a tool-based case at the developer level.