The voice platform’s new in-skill options for letting people buy content, subscriptions, and physical goods fill a long-standing gap in its capabilities.
Just six months after Amazon revealed the AI-infused Alexa service and Echo smart speaker in November 2014, it began welcoming third-party developers onto its nascent voice platform. They responded in force. In January of 2016 there were 130 Alexa skills; five months after that, the number had swelled to a thousand. It hit 10,000 in February and 25,000 the following December. As of today, Amazon is quoting a new figure: 40,000.