The creation of an app store for Alexa
Alexa is Amazon’s voice assistant that is integrated into Echo, the firm’s smart speaker. Nowadays, there are more than 30 000 skills or apps available for Alexa and the aim of the company is to create a full-fledged economy about it.
These skills are very powerful for keeping the customers loyal to the vocal assistant, but also in order to stay competitive with Google and Apple. For example, Amazon wants to develop a community of developers and to support them to create new apps because as Rob Pulciani, the general manager of Alexa skills, says « every new skill makes Alexa a little smarter, a little more fun, a little more entertaining ».
The aim of Amazon is to create something like an app store but the comparison with the app store of Apple is pretty complicated. On the one hand, you have smartphone apps, known by everybody and on the other hand, you have not very popular skills for a vocal assistant. The intention is to give the opportunity to the user to create his own mix of skills, including for example the possibility to choose a restaurant, to find a store or even have access to a music service. In short, the goal of Amazon is to make it easy for customers to find and discover new skills.
But how does Amazon support the developers?
Since 2015, they have been allowed to build businesses around these apps and this explains now why they get paid with some programs like the Developer Rewards Program because, according to Pulciani, « we can’t be successful if developers aren’t successful ». Last year, the developer of the most popular app was paid 100 000 dollars and many others 10 000 dollars or more, but for instance, some of them complained about Amazon saying that not all developers were pleased with the program and that the amount was random.
Moreover, the company tests another way for the skills developers to get paid. They will be able to charge money for premium services and to accept payments via Amazon Pay Services but at this time, it is not open to all developers.