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Amazon launches cloud service to help non-coders build apps

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Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services, speaks during the WSJDLive Global Technology Conference in Laguna Beach, California, on October 25, 2016

Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Amazon’s cloud unit on Wednesday announced the introduction of Honeycode, a service that non-coders can use to write applications.  

The move could help Amazon Web Services broaden its audience beyond programmers. AWS leads the cloud infrastructure market, topping Google and Microsoft. As more services get introduced, AWS aims for customers to spend more money, which is important because the unit accounts for most of Amazon’s operating income. 

Honeycode includes a visual interface that people can use to build applications for a variety of purposes, including scheduling managing tasks and tracking customers, AWS said in a statement.

The service is free for up to 20 users, and then AWS will charge based on storage and number of users. Longtime AWS customers Slack and SmugMug are among those planning to use the service, the statement said. The service is available today, currently in one AWS region.

The announcement comes months after the departure of Adam Bosworth, who worked at Google, Microsoft and Salesforce before joining AWS as a vice president in 2016. Boswroth created and led the development of a product that was kept secret for years but was expected to be software that people can use to write applications with little to no coding.

For years, AWS has been popular among professional developers for offering remote computing and storage services. In recent years Amazon has sought to branch out with cloud-based applications for less technical users, such as the Chime video-calling service, but AWS has had less success with those efforts. 

In 2015 Microsoft introduced the PowerApps software for easily building business applications, and in January Google acquired AppSheet, a start-up with no-code application-development tools.

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