April 7, 2020
Amazon, Google and Microsoft are targeting “low code” and “no code” software to enable business people to develop their own apps. Microsoft’s Power platform, which offers this capability, is the company’s fastest-growing business app ever. The company predicted that 500 million such apps will be built in the next five years, more than the total built in the last 40 years. Google Cloud just purchased Seattle-based AppSheet, a big player in this software market and rumor has it that Amazon Web Services will soon debut a similar product.
CNBC reports that, according to Microsoft corporate VP of citizen applications platform Charles Lamanna, “professional developers should focus on harder challenges than another expense submission form or approval form.” “Our goals are very ambitious, mainly because we see such strong customer demand out there,” he continued, adding that, “the largest value is with an integrated suite” of the Power platform and Power Apps.
Although some “third-party forecasts have estimated Power Apps could represent a $10 billion revenue driver for Microsoft,” Lamanna said Microsoft believes “the opportunity is even larger than that.” As an example of a successful “low code” software, Lamanna pointed to Microsoft Excel, which replaced “decades of number-crunching,” but still requires “the use of some formulas” by users. Excel, and software like it could migrate “to managed platforms and increasingly become app developers.”
Google Cloud general manager/vice president Amit Zavery noted that, “in past decades many tech vendors offered what can be considered ‘proto’ low-code/no-code software.” He sees the no-code market, which “can require only a few days for workers to get trained on,” increasing. “No-code is the next generation of change and improvements,” he said. “Most vendors are going to no-code if they can build it.”
Google Cloud is integrating AppSheet with G Suite, “which has many non-technical business-world users in sectors like manufacturing and utilities.” Zavery added that the sector is “much more powerful if it’s integrated and better built across a set of services.” Google Cloud also offers no-code software Unqork, which is “now deep in one industry, financial services, so not a competitor to AppSheet.”
Unqork has 2,000+ people (including high school juniors) who “trained and certified to build on its software-as-a-service platform” in one to three weeks.
Amazon’s rumored “AWS for Everyone” product has been linked to tech executive Adam Bosworth, who recently left the company. In a blog post, Bosworth said that project would launch “relatively soon” and has “as much potential as any I’ve ever built.” As no-code platforms grow, said CNBC, “the more demand there will be for the specialists to run the underlying technology.”
“There is a 1 million developer shortfall in the U.S. alone, and all these companies are struggling to create content and applications to go truly digitally native,” said Lamanna.