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Top 12 Stories in February: Windstream Bankruptcy, New AT&T Channel Leader

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Wowie Zowie. What a February for news in the channel.

You were shocked to learn that Windstream would declare bankruptcy after losing a big court battle. AT&T’s channel also caught your eye, as Partner Exchange named a new leader.

The Groundhog month also gave us contact-center updates from Cisco, some big merger and acquisition activity with channel impact, and news that IBM is falling back in the public cloud race.

Those five stories all cracked our top 12 for the month, determined by you, the reader. The countdown is based on traffic to our website combined with results from our weekly newsletter. (Sign up for that here).

Was one of the aforementioned stories No. 1? Or did something else make it to the top of our leaderboard? Click through our gallery below to find out!

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

Follow executive editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

Datapipe's Robb Allen
#12 — Top SD-WAN Providers

If we didn't know better, we'd say SD-WAN is a hot topic in the channel.

Our most popular read for all of 2018 landed in our top 12 for February, 11 months after we published it on our site. An awesome list that includes Aryaka, FatPipe Networks, Masergy and 17 other SD-WAN players in the channel continues to draw readers' eyeballs to this day.
Genesys' Daniel Phelps
#11 — New Logitech Technology

Logitech introduced Tap, a low-profile device that partners can install on a meeting room table or wall to allow one-touch calling for customers.

Debuting this spring, Tap will come either as a standalone controller or as part of the Logitech Room Solutions portfolio, which consists of bundles that include Logitech's Rally cameras, codecs integrated with software and the Intel Next Unit Computing (NUC) 4x4 miniature PCs.

Find out which big names' technology Logitech will integrate with Tap.
CenturyLink's Kathy Flynn
#10 — Ethernet Rankings

We all love a winner; or in this case, a leader.

Vertical Systems Group placed CenturyLink at the top of its year-end U.S. carrier Ethernet services leaderboard, followed by AT&T, Verizon, Spectrum Enterprise and some other familiar names. To make the leaderboard, a company must have at least 4 percent port share.

If that weren't enough, late in the month we published our own "CP List" of 20 top Ethernet service providers you should know. Check that out here.
Rightscale cloud providers
#9 — Hot Certs

No, were's not talking about the breath mint. This is the juggernaut article by Kurt Marko on Dec. 26, 2017, that just keeps on giving.

You can't get enough of "29 Hot Certifications to Spice Up Your Business in 2018," as it once again lands in our countdown. Don't you know it's 2019, people?!

That being said, this informative column highlights a number of certifications or versions of them that can be earned today to improve your skills.
DataBank's Bill Pratt
#8 — AT&T's New Partner Exchange Leader, Alliance Channel Honors

It's a two-fer from AT&T in the No. 8 hole.

You were eager to learn about Sara Straley's promotion to head of the carrier's Partner Exchange channel program. That news was part of a lengthy Q&A our James Anderson had in a sit-down with Zee Hussain, senior VP and channel chief of AT&T Partner Solutions, which also included the boss' take on 5G, security and more.

Also under the Partner Solutions umbrella is AT&T's Alliance Channel, which formally recognized its top-performing partners of 2018.
Rightscale cloud use
#7 — Channel People on the Move

Always a staple in our top 12, this edition featured new hires and promotions at Fusion, AireSpring, Nextiva and more.
MicroCorp's Andy Pipkin
#6 — Cisco's Contact Center Upgrades

Cisco caught your eye by updating its contact-center portfolio to improve the customer experience and boost security.

The networking giant's 12.0 release includes enhancements to Cisco's on-prem and hosted solutions that include Unified Contact Center Enterprise, Hosted Collaboration Solution for Contact Center, and more. The company said this release lets partners go back to existing customers for process re-engineering in addition to the upgrade itself.

Get the full scoop.
MicroCorp's Andy Pipkin
#5 — Public Cloud Rankings

AWS continues to rule the world of public cloud, according to a report from Synergy Research Group. While this might not seem like earth-shattering news, it was interesting to learn that Microsoft's Azure is the fastest-growing of the big cloud providers, and IBM's market share actually declined. 

IBM, however, has beefed up its hosted private cloud services businesses, in which Synergy says it is the leader.

Our Jeffrey Burt breaks it all down.
MicroCorp's Andy Pipkin
#4 — AT&T Job Cuts

A story we published on Jan. 9 cracked our top 12 for the second month in a row. A report surfaced about AT&T's "geographic rationalization" and employment "surplus," meaning the carrier would consolidate some aspects of its operations in 10 major hubs. Translation: job cuts.

The Communications Workers of America quickly jumped on the news, citing its own report that claimed AT&T cut 10,000 jobs in 2018. The carrier has said it's constantly hiring people to fill new positions in various parts of the business.
Anomali's Darren Gaeta
#3 — Big Channel M&A

Our recurring update of mergers and acquisitions with channel ramifications scored big in February. The big names that were wheeling and dealing no doubt had something to do with that.

RingCentral added its second customer engagement platform in the last few months and AT&T sold 31 colo data centers. Channel stalwart Windstream got into the act, selling off a large chunk of EarthLink to focus on "core competencies."

Read about all of the M&A we covered in this recap.
D&H's Jason Bystrak
#2 — Cableco Channel Plans

Comcast, Charter's Spectrum, Cox and other cable companies are picking up their technology and strategy games in 2019 — and you stood up and took notice.

From DOCSIS 3.1 to "branch in a box" to "connected business," America's premier cablecos – and their channel partners – have a lot to offer business customers in 2019.

Here's the full breakdown in Craig Leddy's column.
Anomali's Darren Gaeta
#1 — Windstream Bankruptcy

And it wasn't even close. Three articles we posted on Windstream filing for bankruptcy accounted for roughly 8 percent of the traffic on our entire website in February.

It all started with news that bankruptcy was an option after the communications giant lost a monetary judgment of more than $310 million to a bondholder that said spinning off assets into a real estate investment trust (REIT) breached its contract. Then less than a week later, speculation became reality.

Windstream hopes that it can emerge a stronger company once it gets its books in order, but the filing has already raised some concerns in the channel community that some of Windstream's partners could potentially see their commissions cut.

Stay tuned for more on what should be an interesting year for Windstream and its channel.

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