What are your thoughts on Apple’s take on this in iOS 10? i.e. enabling developers and publishers to extend into iMessage via a new framework that they can incorporate into their existing apps (and offer to their existing user base) or build new Apps on.
It essentially splits the difference and enables Bot functionality, if that’s what the developer wants to offer users, but uses the existing App Store model to deliver it.
Foursquare has done something similar with Marsbot, albeit via SMS (I expect that iMessage integration is coming).