August’s Top 12: Mitel-Avaya Talk, AT&T Partner Update, Layoffs



If you’re like us, summer went by in the blink of an eye. But that doesn’t mean August wasn’t chock full of important news to the channel — and you agreed, frequenting Channel Partners for a wide variety of articles.

For instance, AT&T Partner Solutions channel chief Stacey Marx updated us on what’s happening with the carrier’s channel program six months into her tenure as leader, including the latest with 5G and a “massive” IoT opportunity.

Telarus hosted its growing Partner Summit, attracting partners to the mountains of Colorado for networking, education, awards and more.

A big name in security – Symantec – said it would lay off 7% of its workforce, and two stories from earlier in the year proved to have the staying power to remain in our countdown another month.

But that’s far from all.

There are many more highly engaging stories in our top 12, compiled by combining those that get the most traffic on our website with their performance in our weekly newsletters. Sign up now for that.

Click through our gallery below to find out which story was No. 1 in August.

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

Follow executive editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

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#12 — AT&T Talks Massive IoT Growth

AT&T's Stacey Marx

AT&T's Stacey Marx

We sat down with Stacey Marx, now several months into her tenure as senior VP and channel chief at AT&T Partner Solutions.

She touched on a number of topics stemming from her lengthy "listening tour" across the U.S., hearing from partners about their goals, pain points and industry trends. Among those trends are an update on the carrier's 5G plans and how "massive IoT growth" is starting to create real opportunities for the partner community.

Read the full story here.
Tier 4 Advisors' Jake Sherrill
#11 — Cambium Networks Buys Xirrus Portfolio

Cambium Networks, the network solutions provider with a focus on verticals, bought Xirrus Wi-Fi products and cloud services from Riverbed Technology. Financial details weren't disclosed.

Cambium told us that Riverbed partners who support Xirrus products and join Cambium's ConnectedPartner program will get access to the company's broader range of point-to-point and point-to-multipoint wireless networking solutions. They also can sell the cnPilot Wi-Fi and cnMatrix switching portfolios.

Read about the rest of this M&A impact.
Datapipe's Robb Allen
#10 — Telarus Partner Summit

Master agent Telarus held its annual partner convocation last month in Aurora, Colorado. It brought together partners for breakout education sessions, keynotes and networking opportunities.

A recap of awards night, where Telarus recognized 20 top-performing partners, as well as suppliers and channel managers, got the most attention on our website.

Channel Partners was there. Our image gallery offered news highlights from the event and pictures from the expo hall.
Cisco's Vasili Triant
#9 — Public Cloud Rankings

The pecking order in the public cloud hasn't changed a lot in the past couple of years. AWS is still well in front, with Microsoft and Google trailing; yet a story we published about this topic in February is still going strong.

The hook was that Microsoft's Azure is the fastest-growing public cloud service, while IBM was slipping, perhaps because of its focus on hosted private cloud.

See what the fuss is all about.
Datto's Robert Petrocelli
#8 — Fusion Connect Bankruptcy

Another story published more than a month ago continues to hang around our countdown. It's Fusion Connect's chapter 11 bankruptcy filling, which happened the first week of June.

It's been part of a trend of companies that do business in the channel going bankrupt in 2019; others include Windstream and Sungard Availability Services, the latter of which quickly exited the process.

Read more about what caused Fusion to make such a drastic decision. Hint: M&A.
Datto's Robert Petrocelli
#7 — Critical Start Gets Channel Chief

Critical Start's Dwayne Myers

Critical Start's Dwayne Myers

As you will soon see, this top 12 might look a little like an edition of "Channel People on the Move" at times. (See our latest edition here.)

Critical Start, the managed detection and response provider, hired a new VP of channels and alliances, and it caught your eye. Dwayne Myers is a Palo Alto Networks vet who will lead the expansion of the company’s national distributors and network of VARs and other channel partners.

Learn more about how the company's MDR business grew by more than 300% last year.
Broadvoice's Mike Otting
#6 — Zoom Hires New CRO

Zoom's Ryan Azus

Zoom's Ryan Azus

Another mover and shaker, Ryan Azus, a RingCentral alum, joined Zoom Video Communications as its new chief revenue officer. He's tasked with overseeing not only its direct sales force, but also its channel, sales operations and enablement, customer success and sales engineering teams.

He was executive VP of sales and services at RingCentral. Here's why you thought his hiring was intriguing.
Critical Start's Dwayne Myers
#5 — Oracle Layoffs

The first of a pair of layoff stories in our top 12 involves Oracle, which is said to be shuttering its flash storage division and chopping at least 300 jobs. The news came not long after laying off hundred of workers – including software and app developers – in May.

Learn more about what led to the decision.
Ground Labs' Jason Stein
#4 — Channel People on the Move

Our recurring gallery of channel people on the move sneaked into the No. 4 spot this month. This edition featured Andrew Pryfogle's (pictured above) move to Pax 8, plus new hires at his old company (Intelisys), Nextiva, PlanetOne and more.
Critical Start's Dwayne Myers
#3 — Symantec Layoffs

And ... more layoffs, unfortunately. This time it was Symantec, the cybersecurity provider. The move came in the midst of selling its enterprise security business to Broadcom.

Seven percent of Symantec's workforce is getting the ax. The company also will close certain facilities as part of a $100 million restructuring program. Despite all of that, Symantec reported first-quarter earnings that beat analysts' forecasts.

More of the doom and gloom is here.
Mimecast's Kurt Mills
#2 — Potential AT&T Strike that Came to Fruition

AT&T wiireline employees in the Southeast represented by the Communications Workers of America went on strike for a few days at the end of August, returning to work when the two sides came to a "handshake agreement" in the middle of last week.

Interestingly, it was our story from July, when they merely authorized a strike, that got more attention last month than our stories about the actual event. Turns out the buildup and speculation around something can be more compelling that the real thing.
Mimecast's Kurt Mills
#1 — Mitel Might Buy Avaya

Speaking of speculation, the idea that Mitel could buy Avaya was our biggest story of August.

Bloomberg was first to report that Avaya is considering a bid by Mitel that would create a telecommunications vendor worth more than $5 billion. Reuters said Avaya is considering an all-cash offer from private equity firm Clayton Dubilier & Rice as an alternative.

One analyst, Jon Arnold of J Arnold & Associates, told Channel Partners that Mitel buying Avaya would finally fulfill the former's dream of becoming a Tier 1 telecommunications player, along with Cisco and Microsoft.

Avaya wouldn't comment on the speculation, but said it expects to bring its strategic review process to a conclusion within 30 days. So look for an update early in September.

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