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The hardware chamber of a Quantiniuum quantum computer. Credit: Quantinuum

Two major quantum computing companies — one in hardware and one in software — are merging to create a new firm called Quantinuum.

Why it matters: The merger is a sign of the growing maturity of the quantum computing industry, as it begins to shift from the lab to actually solving difficult to compute problems in the real world.

Driving the news: Honeywell Quantum Solutions, which makes quantum computers that use trapped-ion technologies, will merge with the U.K. quantum software company Cambridge Quantum, the firms announced Tuesday.

  • Ilyas Khan, the founder of Cambridge Quantum, will serve as the CEO of the new company, while Honeywell's Tony Uttley will serve as president and COO.
  • The new company says that it will be the largest integrated quantum computing company in the world, with approximately 400 staff in the U.S. and abroad.
  • "This is an opportunity for a new company to be a new center of gravity for the quantum ecosystem," says Uttley. "It's a match of best in class quantum software and best in class quantum hardware."

By the numbers: Honeywell, which announced it would spin off its quantum division six months ago, will be the largest initial shareholder in Quantinuum with 54% ownership in the new company.

  • Honeywell will also invest nearly $300 million in Quantinuum, and will act as both a supplier of its ion-trap hardware and an initial customer.

Background: Quantum is considered the next stage in computing evolution, making use of the often weird physics of quantum mechanics to produce computers and accompanying algorithms capable of solving problems beyond the ability of classical computers.

What's next: Quantinuum's first new offering, a quantum-focused cybersecurity product, will launch in December, to be followed next year by a quantum chemistry product.

The bottom line: "People are saying that it will be 5 or 10 or 15 years before quantum computers do something useful," says Uttley. "But we think the systems that exist now are extraordinary, and we shouldn't lose sight of what's possible today."

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Dec 11, 2021 - Technology

Running the international quantum race

Visitors look at an Alibaba quantum computer at a conference in Hangzhou, China, in October. Photo: Long Wei/VCG via Getty Images

The race for quantum supremacy isn't just between tech companies, but between nation-states as well.

Why it matters: The first country to produce effective, working quantum computers will have a key advantage in economics, defense and cybersecurity — and the U.S., China, and Europe are all competing.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Dec 11, 2021 - Technology

Charting an ethical path for quantum computing

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As quantum computing matures, industry experts are calling for ethics to be taken into account as early as possible.

Why it matters: Previous technological development in social media and AI took place before their makers fully grappled with the ethical considerations.

Scoop: Stephanie Ruhle to replace Brian Williams on MSNBC

Photo: Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

MSNBC will soon announce plans to move morning anchor Stephanie Ruhle to the 11 pm ET hour that Brian Williams turned into an elite destination, two sources familiar with the move tell Axios.

Details: The 9 am ET hour, currently hosted by Ruhle, will become part of MSNBC's flagship morning show, "Morning Joe," which currently runs from 6 am to 9 am ET.

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