Amazon plans to stop giving free AWS credits and paying developers to make Alexa apps

Alexa app developers can still make money through in-app purchases.
Written by Don Reisinger, Contributing Writer
Amazon Echo Pop
Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

Amazon has decided to stop paying developers to build Alexa apps and giving them free AWS credits, shutting down the Alexa Developer Rewards Program and the AWS Promotional Credits for Alexa program on June 30, 2024. The company emailed Alexa app developers with the news, Bloomberg reported after obtaining a copy of the note.

"Developers like you have and will play a critical role in the success of Alexa and we appreciate your continued engagement," Amazon wrote in a note to developers, according to Bloomberg. While Amazon hasn't publicly released its note to developers, the company did post a notice on its Amazon Web Services (AWS) page about no longer giving them free AWS development credits for creating Alexa skills.

"We created the AWS Promotional Credits for Alexa (APCA) program to encourage developers like you, to build Alexa skills and support your development expenses," Amazon wrote on its page. "After 7 years of running the program, we will be ending the program globally on June 30, 2024. This means, after June 30, 2024, you will no longer receive AWS promotional credits from Alexa."

Also: The best Alexa devices of 2024: Expert tested

Paying developers and defraying their development costs helped Amazon build an Alexa app ecosystem. When virtual assistants were still in their nascent phase, developers needed the encouragement to develop applications for the platforms. Now, though, Amazon's Alexa is used globally and developers have readily taken to the platform, making the developer payment program less necessary, according to Amazon.

"Today, with over 160,000 skills available for customers and a well-established Alexa developer community, these programs have run their course, and we decided to sunset them," an Amazon spokesperson told Bloomberg.

It's unclear how many developers earned revenue from Amazon's program or how much they actually made. Perhaps more importantly, it's also unclear what this means for the future of Alexa development. Some developers may have been more than happy to develop Alexa Skills when they got paid, but now that the program is ending, they may not feel so willing.

Still, Amazon was quick to note that payments are not entirely gone from Alexa apps. If developers create Alexa Skills that include in-app purchases, they'll get a cut of any revenue those purchases generate.

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