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June’s Top 12 Stories: CenturyLink, Windstream Bankruptcy, AT&T Layoffs

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The heat is on, not only in many parts of the world this week, but in our monthly countdown of the channel’s top stories.

The biggest story of the year thus far – bankruptcy – continued its strong pull for your attention in June. Fusion’s chapter 11 announcement and updates to the Windstream saga both cracked our top 12.

Some other familiar stories made it too. Our monthly Channel People on the Move feature, a public cloud rankings story dating back to February, and a list of “hot certifications” still riding the popularity wave 18 months after posting all made it as well.

Ah, but there was plenty of new blood, from a list of 20 top hosted PBX providers, to a new Avaya UCaaS platform, to an important cybersecurity play by Telarus.

How do we compile our top 12, you ask? It’s through a combination of online page views and popularity in our weekly newsletters. You can have a hand in influencing this countdown. Sign up now for our newsletter that arrives in your inbox on Wednesday mornings.

Meantime, click through our gallery below to find out which of these stories – or something else – was No. 1!

Missed the previous month’s top stories? Click here to see our most-read posts in May.

Follow executive editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

ServerCentral Turing Group's Thomas Johnson gallery June 2019
#12 — Avaya's Google Cloud UCaaS Platform

Avaya debuted a new cloud-native unified-communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) solution that it says gives partners opportunities for sales success across all industries and verticals.

Running on Google Cloud Platform and powered by Avaya IX Workforce Engagement, the new solution is available in 24 global markets and provides a customizable cloud communications infrastructure, the company said.

Avaya's senior manager of UC solutions marketing told us that the company's partner community had expressed interest in expanding their reach to more small businesses "while still providing a complete and flexible solution set for demanding customers, many of whom have experience with 'big business' capabilities at previous jobs."

Learn more about this UCaaS opportunity.
Datapipe's Robb Allen
#11 — MapR in Jeopardy

It became evident in late May that trouble was brewing at MapR.

It was reported that the data platform provider for artificial intelligence and analytics could shut down and lay off 122 employees unless it could secure funding. In a letter to employees dated May 13, founder and CEO John Schroeder said the company could cease operations at its Santa Clara, California, headquarters by June 14. By mid-June, the San Francisco Chronicle was reporting that MapR had found a potential buyer.

Once worth more than $1 billion, the company experienced "disappointing" and "unexpected" earnings in its last quarter.

Read more about MapR's recent struggles.
Reinvent's Julia Dengate landing page gallery June 2019
#10 — The Windstream Bankruptcy Saga

There haven't been any significant developments in the Windstream bankruptcy process over the past several weeks, but that doesn't mean the year's biggest story in the channel is out of our readers' minds.

Our chapter 11 timeline and analysis from May caught your eye again in June. Here's where you can get caught up on all of the drama.
Reinvent's Julia Dengate landing page gallery June 2019
#9 — Hot Certifications (Still Hot)

Let's jump in the wayback machine for a post that continues to get attention more than a year and a half after we published it.

Making a regular appearance on our monthly countdown, Kurt Marko's review of hot certifications to spice up your business in 2018 – that's right, 2018 (the article posted on Dec. 26, 2017) – is still grabbing your attention.

Looking for a more recent list of certs? We published 20 worth checking out not long ago.
Broadvoice personnel gallery June 2019
#8 — Blake Wetzel's New Job

TeraGo's Blake Wetzel

TeraGo's Blake Wetzel

Former CenturyLink channel chief Blake Wetzel, who had a short stint at Rackspace after leaving the communications giant, popped up at TeraGo, the Canada-based cloud, colo and connectivity provider, as its chief revenue officer.

Wetzel is in charge of sales, channel and business development, as well as marketing, product and customer experience. TeraGo's channel program is in its infancy, so Wetzel says his mission is to "develop the premier channel and alliance program in Canada, bringing a whole new market opportunity to the partners I have had the pleasure of working with over the past decade."

Learn more about Wetzel's plans.
Bigleaf personnel gallery June 2019
#7 — CenturyLink's Potential Consumer Spinoff

You're keeping yourselves abreast of CenturyLink's options concerning its consumer business, which the company not long ago said spinning it off hasn't been ruled out, and that "all options are on the table."

Analysts at MoffettNathanson speculated that the decision on a spinoff could hinge on Frontier Communications' plans to sell its local service in a handful of states for a hefty price. Frontier's assets in those states, however, are more fiber-enabled than CenturyLink's, so the latter would be unlikely to command such a high price.

This is a developing story.
Bigleaf personnel gallery June 2019
#6 — Channel People on the Move

No stranger to our countdown is our monthly check of new hires and promotions in the channel. The edition we published in June heavily featured master agents, including TBI, Telarus and Avant.
Craig Leddy
#5 — Telarus' Security Hire

Singer, Dominique_Telarus

Telarus' Dominique Singer

Cybersecurity sales are taking their rightful place in the channel.

Case in point: Master agent Telarus hired Dominique Singer as its VP of business development for security. Singer, who brings 13 years of experience to his position, is tasked with helping partners sell security services ranging from unified threat management to intrusion prevention.

Singer's pedigree includes jobs at such titans as CenturyLink and Verizon.

Read more about Telarus' cybersecurity investment.
Craig Leddy
#4 — Public Cloud Rankings

Here's another one that keeps popping up in our countdown, despite being several months old.

Published in February, we posted analysis of a Synergy Research Group report that found AWS' share of public cloud market revenue climbed again in the fourth quarter of 2018. Microsoft's Azure grew the fastest, while IBM saw a decline.

IBM, however, has a different focus in that it's the leader in hosted private cloud services, the analysts noted.

Keep up with movement in the cloud arms race.
Narrow Microcorp logo
#3 — Claim of AT&T Layoffs 'Misleading'

AT&T is cutting nearly 1,900 more jobs during the next few months, according to its biggest union, the Communications Workers of America.

But Marty Richter, a spokesman for the carrier, told Channel Partners it's misleading to categorize them as "layoffs," because most of the affected employees are guaranteed another job within the company. The union fired back, saying those jobs aren't always in the same state and they would be forced to move.

Get the full scoop on the controversy.
Forescout's Julie Cullivan
#2 — 20 Top Hosted PBX Providers

You jumped on our latest "20 Top" list like nobody's business.

We polled analysts and members of the Channel Partners Editorial Advisory Board to identify 20 of the market's top players in hosted PBX. A lot of the biggest names in the business landed on our list.

Take a look to see who they named and why.
Forescout's Julie Cullivan
#1 — Fusion Connect Files for Bankruptcy

2019 has been the year of bankruptcy. First it was Windstream, then Sungard Availability Services. Then, after a couple months of speculation, Fusion Connect made it official in early June.

We had a number of articles that caught your eye, but it was the original official announcement that attracted the most web traffic last month. The decision was made after it was determined that acquisitions of MegaPath and Birch Communications' cloud and business-services units failed to meet performance projections. Fusion borrowed $680 million to make the purchases.

The company's CEO wrote a letter to partners, ensuring it is committed to paying all commissions in full and on time, delivering the same portfolio of advanced cloud communications and secure managed services going forward.

Senior lenders could take over the company, or it could be sold. One could have bigger implications on the channel than the other.

You also were interested in an article we posted about Fusion Connect consulting Windstream on best practices before filing for bankruptcy.

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