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Top 12 Stories in October: Windstream, AT&T, Verizon, Avaya

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October was a red-hot month for channel news.

You were surprised to learn that Windstream has a new channel chief, replacing Olen Scott, who had been board for less than a year. AT&T announced a significant channel realignment. Verizon said it would cut more legacy services in one of the country’s most populated areas. Telarus made a splash by acquiring another master agent.

Those were just a trio of the 12 stories making our monthly countdown. Per usual, results are an aggregate of online page views and weekly newsletter results.

What was No. 1? Click through our gallery below to find out!

Looking for more top stories? Click here to see our most-read posts in September.

Follow executive editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

Datapipe's Robb Allen
#12 — Telarus Acquires CarrierSales

It's the latest consolidation involving a pair of master agents/distributors, following a trend that has included ScanSource/Intelisys, Tech Data-Avnet, Sandler Partners/X4 Solutions and Synnex/Westcon Comstor, just to name a few. If not for being announced right at the end of the month, no doubt this story would've ranked higher.

Telarus says buying CarrierSales will make it the second-largest master agency in the industry. CarrierSales is particularly strong in mobility, data-center and UCaaS sales, and "bringing the companies together is good for both partner communities," said Telarus CEO Adam Edwards.

Read more about how this merger will shake up the channel.
Networking panel
#11 — Extreme Networks Calls Cisco, HPE 'Distracted'

Extreme Networks has been in a buying frenzy this year, acquiring Brocade's data-center networking business, Avaya's networking business and Zebra's WLAN unit.

At its Global Partner Summit in Orlando, the company put Cisco and HPE on notice, calling them "distracted," spread thin in many different areas.

"We're in the right place at the right time with a completely enterprise-centric storyline, complete enterprise solution, No. 1 service and support," said Norman Rice III, Extreme's chief marketing, development and product operations officer.

Read our recap from Orlando.
Careworx at SolarWinds Empower MSP 2017
#10 — Citrix Layoffs

Citrix said it's laying off employees around the world as it transforms to a subscription/cloud-based business model. The company, which has about 8,000 employees, wouldn't specify the exact number of job cuts, but one report out of North Carolina indicated that dozens there would be out of work.

Citrix is repositioning two of its key products – ShareFile and XenMobile – the latter of which is going to the cloud, which will be used to focus go-to-market plans with "key enterprise mobility platform partners."

Click here to learn more about why Citrix is cutting jobs.
BCN Telecom's Michael Ginsburg
#9 — Verizon Cutting Some Legacy Services

Our readers always are interested when one of the major carriers makes a move to cut legacy services. In this instance, it's Verizon.

Big Red announced it would discontinue four DS0 services in parts of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and New England. The carrier has filed the request with the FCC, with the plan to grandfather the services on or after Jan. 31, 2018.

The carrier has 10 wholesale customers and about 67 retail customers in the affected areas.

For more about the cuts and why they're happening, go here.
Managed security services panel at Empower MSP 2017
#8 — Chapter 11 Almost Over for Avaya

After almost a year of bankruptcy protection, Avaya is set to emerge from Chapter 11 soon. The company got support to do so from two-thirds of its creditors. 

“It was our goal all along to reach a Plan of Reorganization that is fully supported by all of our major creditor groups,” said Jim Chirico, Avaya’s president and CEO, who noted that this is a milestone that should be good news for everyone involved with the company, including partners.

Learn about next steps here.
SolarWinds' Greg Lissy at Empower MSP 2017
#7 — AT&T's Channel Realignment

Brooks McCorcle is retiring as president of AT&T Partner Solutions, and in conjunction, the carrier is realigning its channel programs.

Partner Exchange, ACC Business and Alliance Channel all will now be under one umbrella. Zee Hussain will be at the head of the pecking order. Randall Porter takes over as head of Partner Exchange, while Kevin Leonard remains in his position as leader of the Alliance Channel.

“This realignment lets us further elevate the experience we bring to our solution providers and wholesale customers,” the company said.

McCorcle goes in depth on her decision to retire and AT&T's realignment here.
Inbay at SolarWinds Empower MSP 2017
#6 — Channel Influencer Awards

Channel Partners and our new brand, Channel Futures, are rolling out a new awards program. And based on the response, you're interested in getting recognized.

In her blog on Oct. 16, editor in chief Lorna Garey explained how we will honor the 50 people, suppliers, technologies and trends to watch in early 2018. Our Channel Influencer Awards will become an industry standard. Look for them all to be highlighted in a print edition of Channel Partners in February.
Inbay at SolarWinds Empower MSP 2017
#5 — End of On-Prem World?

“This is the biggest validation that we’ve seen that the on-prem world is officially over. Cisco’s acquisition of Broadsoft is also a validation that everything is moving to a software-defined, subscription-based economy.”

That was Drew Lydecker, president of Avant Communications, reacting to the news that Cisco would buy BroadSoft in a deal worth $1.9 billion. His comment had some in the legacy channel all a-twitter.

“As businesses continue to move toward the cloud in search of simplicity and speed, joining Cisco will allow us to deliver best-in-class collaboration tools and services. BroadSoft’s hosted offerings, sold through the service providers and aimed at small and medium businesses, are highly complementary to Cisco’s on-premises and enterprise-centric HCS offerings," said Michael Tessler, president and CEO, BroadSoft.

Read more about what this gigantic deal means for the future of the channel.
Demos at SolarWinds Empower MSP 2017
#4 — Nextiva Targets RingCentral

At its NextCon event in Scottsdale, Arizona, Nextiva noted how the growth of the unified-communications market helped spur significant growth in its channel program.

What caught most attendees' attention was channel chief Ira Feuerstein's comments about where he thinks the business is going.

“I’m telling you right here, right now; I personally have a target on RingCentral,” he said. “There’s a big bullseye on them, and we’re coming for them. We’re growing tremendously fast.”

This is where to learn more about Nextiva's goals.
CenturyLink's John DeLozier at Channel Partners Evolution
#3 — Channel People on the Move

Needs little explanation. Always vastly popular. Our monthly edition featured new hires and promotions at master agents TBI, Intelisys and WTG.
Demos at SolarWinds Empower MSP 2017
#2 — You Go, Google!

Was this post extremely popular because Google gave it a prime spot in its search engine? Let the conspiracy theories begin!

In a guest column dubbed, "Google Go Shows Why Programming Languages Need a Killer App," Mark Little, VP of engineering with Red Hat, noted that you should have a compelling use case or the app development experience won't pay off.

"While the majority of new languages are designed to make the lives of developers’ easier, that’s no guarantee of success," Little wrote. "Languages – just like partners – achieve success by finding a killer app that makes them indispensable."

Read the full column here.
Kevin Leonard Dick Jalkut
#1 — Windstream's Channel Chief Change

In a post that will compete for most-read of the year when we post our top 12 stories of 2017 next month, we told you how Curt Allen, former president of X4 Solutions, is coming out of retirement to take the role of channel chief with Windstream.

Olen Scott, who came aboard with Windstream's EarthLink acquisition, is stepping aside to pursue other opportunities.

“After speaking with Layne (Levine, president of Windstream’s enterprise business division) about the team he was assembling and the energy around building the channel program the way it should be, I was easily sold on jumping back in," Allen told Channel Partners.

Click here for the full story.

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