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July’s Top 12: Layoffs, Top Channel Execs, Fusion-Windstream Bankruptcies

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It’s a good news-bad news top 12 in the channel from July.

Fusion Connect and Windstream are still working their way through chapter 11 bankruptcy filings, so updates on those situations cracked our list.

But there was plenty of positive news to crow about: NTT opened up more opportunities for partners through its consolidation, Intelisys hired a cloud and contact center expert to lead some of its efforts with partners, and our Top Gun 51 list – an honor for channel execs at companies across the telecom and IT channels – made its debut. (We’ll honor them at the upcoming Channel Partners Evolution, Sept. 9-12, in Washington, D.C.)

We compile our list by combining those articles that get the most traffic on our website with their performance in our weekly newsletters. Sign up now for that.

Meantime, click through our gallery below to find out which story was No. 1 in July!

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

Follow executive editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

Datapipe's Robb Allen
#12 — NTT Consolidation

NTT Corp. formally consolidated 28 divisions, including NTT Communications, Dimension Data and NTT Security, into a global technology services provider worth $11 billion.

The new identity comes after NTT's announcement a year ago that several subsidaries would be combined. NTT Ltd. employs about 40,000 people in offices across more than 70 countries and regions.

The move "makes sense," NTT Ltd.'s CEO told Channel Partners. More here on how partners will be impacted.
Taylor Castranova
#11 — AT&T Refutes Union's Layoff Claim

This story from June had legs.

In what seems like a never-ending back and forth between AT&T and it's largest union, the Communications Workers of America said the carrier was telling employees their jobs are at risk as part of its plans to cut 1,880 U.S. jobs this summer.

While acknowledging that staff reductions in certain areas are sometimes necessary, an AT&T spokesman told us that to call them layoffs "would be misleading" because most of those impacted have a job-offer guarantee that ensures they can get another position within the company.

Catch up on the tension.
Jarrod Buckley
#10 — Cox Business' Stadium Ventures

Cable companies and telecom providers are signing big contracts to bring the latest in wireless technology and more to concert halls, sports stadiums and more — very possibly in your backyard.

Craig Leddy explained how Cox Business is very active on this front in his "Cable Connection" column.
Scott Barlow
#9 — Uniti/Windstream Bankruptcy Squabble

Windstream's filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy has made headlines all year in the channel, but last month it was a specific battle between the company and its creditors that piqued your interest.

Court documents revealed that Uniti Group, the real estate investment trust (REIT), had rebuffed a request to negotiate a smaller network lease with Windstream. UMB Bank and U.S. Bank, which are both creditors for the Arkansas-based communication giant, wants WIndstream to stop paying Uniti $54 million every month to use its network.

Windstream requested that its chapter 11 bankruptcy court appoint a mediator “to oversee negotiations with Uniti,” but Uniti declined that idea.

Learn more about this intriguing court battle.
Scott Barlow
#8 — Intelisys Hires Contact Center Expert

Channel businesses are busy hiring experts in technologies that partners and their customers are clamoring for.

Case in point: Intelisys tapped Andrew Rustad as its newest solutions engineer for the Southeast. He knows his stuff when it comes to contact center, UCaaS and other hot technologies.

Rustad will work out of Florida, educating and supporting partners. You should probably get to know him better.
Curt Allen
#7 — CenturyLink Fiber Expansion

There should be plenty of partner opportunity as CenturyLink builds a 4.7 million-mile intercity fiber network across two continents.

About three-quarters of it is complete in North America, the company announced in July. CenturyLink plans to add 1.2 million more miles in both North America and Europe by 2021. The expansion connects 50-plus major U.S. cities through CenturyLink’s fiber-optic network. 

There's more to learn about the expansion.
Pryfogle Gallery Landing Page 3
#6 — Telecom-IT Layoff Tracker

Every six months, we catch you up on which big names in the channel are cutting jobs — not the most upbeat of topics, but you always show us you're interested.

In most of these cases, the layoffs came due to "restructuring" rather than because the business is doing poorly. Oracle, Ribbon Communications and SAP are among those highlighted.
Onfido's Ed Ackerman
#5 — Public Cloud Rankings

This one's been sticking around for a while.

We reported in February Synergy Research Group's latest numbers in the fight for public cloud supremacy. Nothing shocking — AWS remained the top dog. But word that IBM was slipping a bit got your attention.

Synergy, however, noted how Big Blue has a different main focus than that of its competitors — t’s the leader in hosted private cloud services – so nothing to be ashamed of considering the level of competition in the growing public cloud.
Onfido's Ed Ackerman
#4 — New Services to Sell

This edition of our monthly wrap of new products and services available via the channel caught your eye more than any previous iteration ever had — no doubt due to the big names in the telecom channel that adorned it.

Windstream, Avaya and Intelisys were among those announcing new offerings you were interested in pouncing on.

Our recap is here.
Telarus July 2019 gallery people
#3 — Fusion Bankruptcy

Published on June 3, news of Fusion Connect filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy stayed on your radar last month.

We reported how Fusion's acquisitions of MegaPath and Birch Communications’ cloud and business-services business failed to meet performance projections — the main reason for the filing.
Speakman, Shane_AireSpring July 2019 gallery
#2 — SD-WAN Rankings

SD-WAN is red hot — so hot in fact that two of our top three stories of the month involve rankings from researchers at IHS Markit and IDC. (We combined the two for the purposes of this countdown.)

IHS Markit put VMware at the top of the heap, followed by Cisco and Aryaka, part of the firm's Data Center Network Equipment Market Tracker. IDC said Cisco holds 47% of the SD-WAN infrastructure market.

Learn more from the IHS Markit report here and the IDC report here.
Speakman, Shane_AireSpring July 2019 gallery
#1 — Top Gun 51

Our brand-new awards program, the Top Gun 51, highlights channel executives who deserve recognition for building and executing programs in a way that drives partner, customer and supplier success.

We named channel execs from some of the biggest names in telecom and IT.

"They can overcome a lot of problems because the partners trust them, and the partners have made money with them before. You have to have someone strong if you want to attract top partners," our Channel Influencer of the Year, Janet Schijns, said in a recent webinar.

You've got that right, Janet. That's in part how we determined the honorees in our inaugural list.

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