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Top 12 Stories in April: CenturyLink, AT&T, Mitel

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April was a month to remember.

2018’s fourth month proved to be one of the biggest in recent memory on our site. More traffic, more unique visitors — many of you checking out what would turn out to be the top 12 stories of the month.

The Channel Partners Conference & Expo turned out to be catalyst for our success; several of the stories you’ll find in our gallery below came directly from our spring show that attracted 6,000 people to the Venetian & Sands Expo in Las Vegas.

Among the stories you’ll find here: Mitel going private in a $2 billion sale; award winners from #CPExpo; AT&T touting the future of 5G technology; and Office Depot making an unexpected splash in the channel.

And those are just some of the news you’ll find in our top 12 from April. Our rankings are an aggregate of online page views and our weekly newsletter results. (You can sign up for that here.)

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

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

Follow executive editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

Datapipe's Robb Allen
#12 — Mitel Goes Private in $2 Billion Sale

Mitel surprised many in the channel by announcing it would sell to an investor group led by affiliates of SearchLight Capital Partners for $2 billion — just a few months after closing its own purchase of ShoreTel and one month after unveiling its integrated global partner program.

“We are a legacy, on-site PBX business, and that market is declining as more customers move to cloud, UCaaS," Todd Abbott, Mitel's executive VP of global sales and service, told Channel Partners. "This is a disruptive transition, so to be able to manage that disruption of solutions and business models, as a private company it’s much easier. We can be freed of quarter-to-quarter performances the public requires and more strategic in leading that part of the business.”
Telarus' Roger Blohm
#11 — Cisco Fights Email Malware with New Services

Cisco announced upgrades to its Advanced Malware Protection (AMP) for Endpoints. Dubbed Cisco Visibility, the improvements are designed to stop malware, eliminate blind spots and discover unknown threats. Cisco Visibility shows the extent of a compromise that spans the endpoint, the network and the cloud.

“These additional capabilities … it’s all about making sure that our endpoints and our users are protected on their systems and also through the ways people attack them through email,” said Jason Lamar, senior director of product management, Cisco.
Spectrotel logo
#10 — Channel Partners Expo Award Winners

We handed out a slew of awards on the show floor at the conclusion of the Channel Partners Conference & Expo.

Office Depot took home the prize for Best New Exhibitor, while Vonage nabbed the prize for Best Booth Design. Twelve more companies were given the nod in various categories. Click here to see who went home with hardware, and for what.
Spectrotel logo
#9 — CenturyLink to Discontinue Legacy Service

Every time a major telco says it will dump a legacy service, you're interested. This time it was CenturyLink, announcing it would let go of its call event and management signaling service (CEMSS), which it offers in its legacy Qwest ILEC footprint.

The company is asking the FCC for permission to shut down the service by June 1 or soon after in 14 states in the West and Midwest. There are no longer customers for CEMSS, CenturyLink said.
Shamrock Consulting logo
#8 — Forrester's Jay McBain Warns of the 'Shadow Channel'

What exactly is the "shadow channel"?

Forrester analyst Jay McBain, during a keynote at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo, said new "shadow" competitors are storming the market and winning deals. It's a result of line-of-business (LOB) executives without channel-partner relationships seizing the tech-buying reins. Savvy customers are demanding hypertargeted solutions.

“Today, two-thirds of [all] technology decisions [are] made outside the IT department, and this number will be 80 percent in the next couple of years,” McBain said. “In a third of these cases, [LOBs] are blocking IT from even being involved.”
Richardson Communications logo 2018
#7 — AT&T's Hussain on 5G

During his keynote at Channel Partners, AT&T channel chief Zee Hussain got the crowd excited about 5G and the partner opportunity.

“5G is going to be game-changing, and 5G is not just about ‘another G,' even though the speed is going to measured in multiple gigabytes.”
Plow logo
#6 — The Channel Partners Expo Hall

From mobility behemoths AT&T and Verizon at the entrance, to Broadvoice's unique "menu" of service options and TouchTone's knockout game, we snapped photos of the biggest booths and the quirky gimmicks you love in the Channel Partners expo hall.

Click here to see them all.
Plow logo
#5 — Office Depot Takes the Channel by Storm

Office Depot made a splash at this year's Channel Partners Conference & Expo not only on the expo hall floor, but also on our keynote stage.

Channel veteran Janet Schijns, who made the jump from Verizon to Office Depot last fall, discussed the importance of innovation during her stage presentation, but also explained the opportunities that the retail giant now offers SMB partners.
Pics iTech logo
#4 — Better Branding Means a Bigger Bottom Line

Ignyte's Brian Lischer

Ignyte's Brian Lischer

Many partner businesses would admit they're better at selling than marketing. Ignyte's Brian Lischer was out to change that on the Channel Partners keynote stage last month.

Ignyte is a branding agency that specializes in brand strategy, identity and storytelling.

“Fundamental industry shifts like the ones you’re experiencing are an opportunity. And, one of the best ways to take advantage of that opportunity is with the power of branding," Lischer told the audience.
MotherG logo
#3 — AT&T Contract Talks

Contract disputes certainly aren't unusual in telecommunications, but the contract dispute between AT&T and its CWA union-represented employees in five Midwestern states got tense last month when the workers authorized a strike.

It hasn't happened yet, but they continue to work without a contract. AT&T says it's committed to reaching fair agreements that include "excellent wages and benefits." The union is upset with the outsourcing of jobs, accusing AT&T of "farming out work to the lowest bidder."
Think Network Technologies logo
#2 — Channel People on the Move

Our latest edition of Channel People on the Move was one of our most popular ever. Why? Because it included some movers and shakers at some of the best-known companies in the channel.

Windstream, Avant and TBI were among those represented. Click here to see who took new jobs or got promoted.
TPx's Hilary Gadda
#1 — CenturyLink: 'Amazing Returns' on Level 3 Investment

CenturyLink's John DeLozier Channel Influencer 2018

CenturyLink's John DeLozier

You flocked to our Q&A with John DeLozier, CenturyLink's vice president of strategic partners and alliances, for an update on the company's integration of Level 3 Communications. We sat down with DeLozier at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo.

"The integration is going really well," he told us. "As you can imagine, bringing together two multibillion-dollar companies, there [are] a lot of T’s to cross and I’s to dot, and I think the collective partner community is kind of holding their breath a little bit and just watching how this is going to turn out. We have really turned the corner since January and I think the partner community has responded really well to it. So we had a great first quarter; obviously those things will come out publicly really soon, but we’re excited."

We asked him if there have been any surprises or any unexpected challenges along the way. Click here to learn what he said.

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