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Bots are beating apps in their own early race

The first wave of the bot economy is outpacing that of apps when they first emerged, according to a report.

kik-tienda-bot.png

Bots are software powered by artificial intelligence that can perform simple tasks.

Kik Messenger

Apps. How retro.

Bookings by bots are outstripping the growth of the early app economy, according to a Citigroup research note reported by Bloomberg.

Bots, short for chatbots, are software applications that use artificial intelligence to do simple tasks: answer a question, write an email or book travel. Earlier this year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company's messaging service, Messenger, would introduce and promote other company's bots for roles like customer service.

Citigroup analyst Mark May compared the growth rate of Apple's App Store in its first six months to the same early period for bot platforms on Facebook Messenger. Bots grew significantly faster than apps from the third to the sixth month of operation, about 170 percent versus apps' 100 percent. And May found the number of developers working on bots by month six were already triple the developers working on apps by their 14th month.