Q-CTRL Is Betting More on Its Model Than On Its Patent Portfolio

A sure sign that quantum computing is inching toward realization is that companies are arising to facilitate the development of quantum computing infrastructure in ways beyond merely building the computers themselves. Q-CTRL, an Australia-based start-up, wants to be a part of that growing quantum ecosystem. The company appears to be betting on a model of developing quantum firmware for existing system infrastructures in order to clean up readouts and make operations faster. Its first application relating to quantum computing, which published in August 2021, specifically deals with methods of reducing noise, which allows for greater precision in quantum measurements. 

Q-CTRL’s strategy is a gamble. Its current staked position as a firmware developer means that it is not competing so much with the nascent field of quantum software development, but rather with hardware producers. IBM, for example, had an application publish for noise mitigation in quantum readouts the same week as Q-CTRL had its first application published. Even if Q-CTRL’s gamble works out, however, it still might be cut off from success due to the sheer size of the IP portfolios of the companies developing quantum hardware. An unfortunately likely scenario, and perhaps Q-CTRL’s worst nightmare, is that whichever hardware developers get beat in the race to develop quantum computing might end up developing more of the firmware side and edge smaller companies like Q-CTRL out of that market. For example, if IBM and Google are the clear first to develop a workable computer, then Microsoft and Intel might shift strategies and take up Q-CTRL’s market. We wouldn’t bet a lot on Q-CTRL’s success with its current strategy.

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