Amazon offers free access to its AI coding assistant to undercut Microsoft

Amazon’s CodeWhisperer generates and suggests code, and now it’s free for individual developers.

Amazon is making its AI-powered coding assistant free for individual developers, undercutting the $10 per month pricing of its Microsoft-made rival. In a post shared on Thursday, Amazon announced that its CodeWhisperer tool is now available to everyone who signs up to use it.

Amazon launched CodeWhisperer as a preview last year, which developers can use within various integrated development environments (IDEs), like Visual Studio Code, to generate lines of code based on a text-based prompt. While it was originally only made available to Amazon Web Services customers, the newly announced free tier should make it much more accessible to developers who don’t use AWS.

CodeWhisperer automatically filters out any code suggestions that are potentially biased or unfair and flags any code that’s similar to open-source training data. It also comes with security scanning features that can identify vulnerabilities within a developer’s code, while providing suggestions to help close any security gaps it uncovers. CodeWhisperer now supports several languages, including Python, Java, JavaScript, TypeScript, and C#, including Go, Rust, PHP, Ruby, Kotlin, C, C++, Shell scripting, SQL, and Scala.

Microsoft-owned GitHub beat Amazon to the punch with its Copilot AI tool, announced in June of last year. Although the coding assistant similarly generates and suggests code from within an IDE, Microsoft only made the tool free for students and developers working on popular open-source projects, requiring all other users to pay $10 per month for access or $100 per year. Google’s DeepMind has its own AlphaCode tool as well, but it’s still in testing.

But this isn’t the only AI-related news Amazon announced. It’s also launching something called Bedrock, which helps companies build and scale generative AI apps. It comes with a variety of foundational models (FMs) that developers can build upon, including Anthropic’s Claude, Stable Diffusion, and Amazon Titan. This should make it easier for third parties to create AI-powered tools that generate text, answer questions, create summaries, and more.

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