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Top 12 Stories in January: AT&T Layoffs, CenturyLink Cuts Bonuses, Equinix CEO’s ‘Poor Judgment’

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January was a wild month for telecom, tech and the channel.

Some of the news was headline-grabbing for the wrong reasons. Among our most-read stories were layoffs at big players AT&T, Windstream and VMware. CenturyLink cracked our top 12 for cutting bonuses and suspending raises. And the CEO at Equinix resigned after what was described as “poor judgment involving an employee matter.”

But there were some rosy stories as well. You flocked to see who got kudos in our first-ever Channel Influencer awards, where we recognized some of the top people, companies and technologies in the business. And in a Q&A, Avaya looked to the future with optimism now that it’s out of chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Those were just a few of the stories that you were talking about — and probably still are. Which was No. 1? Click through our gallery below to find out!

Our rankings are determined by tallying online page views and mixing those results with the popularity of stories in our weekly newsletters. (You can sign up for that here.)

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

Follow executive editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

Rackspace’s Julie Vansell
#12 — Avaya Strategy VP Looks to the Future

In a sit-down with Channel Partners, Avaya‘s newest vice president said he plans to ensure that all of the company’s investment in technology directly benefits its partners.

Greg Pelton, who has the title of VP of technology strategy, looks forward to what Avaya, which is transitioning into a services- and cloud-based company, can do now that it has left chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the past.

"... There are emerging technologies like machine learning and Internet of Things (IoT) that are quite relevant to our solutions and can enable significant differentiation," Pelton told us when we asked him how his role will benefit partners. "These and other new technologies will influence our strategy and road map."
Datapipe's Robb Allen
#11 — 29 Hot Certifications

Cisco certifications like CCNA and CISSP are required for many positions, while Microsoft shops look for MCSEs to design and operate their systems. But these certifications cover only a tiny slice of today’s IT landscape, noted Channel Partners contributor Kurt Marko.

He broke down 17 new, highly sought-after areas where the right training could help land you a new consulting business while rewarding top staffers with valuable knowledge.
TBI personnel
#10 — Cylance Wants Partners 'to Be Heroes'

Cylance has a wide range of solution-provider, technology, system-integrator and alliance-partner opportunities as well as a dedicated cloud partner program offering subscription services to customers. It recently launched a multi-level MSSP program to enable partners to offer Cylance products as managed services. MSSPs may license products on a monthly or annual subscription basis.

So said Didi Dayton, the company's VP of worldwide channels and alliances, in a Q&A with Channel Partners editor-in-chief Lorna Garey.

"We’re all about community building, so there are two things that we’ve done in our channel program. One is that we allow partners to give a subscription for one year to the nonprofit customer of their choice. That’s because we recognize that nonprofits are vulnerable, and also because we want partners to be the hero," Dayton said. "We also give partners access to the technology for internal use. We have 204 partners today, rapidly expanding to 250, that use Cylance technology to protect their internal systems."
13 Ways to Turn Your Website into a Money Machine
#8 — China VPN Crackdown Hampered SD-WAN Growth

Software-defined networking is a red-hot technology in the channel, so you've been quick to gobble up as much information on it as you can.

We told you how China’s strict online policy got tougher, and how the country’s new internet restrictions would impact networking vendors and customers. Specifically, the Chinese government reportedly ordered state-owned ISPs to block access to three types of TCP ports. Blocking the ports is a way to block VPNs, which many people in China use to circumvent tight internet censorship.
#7 — Equinix CEO's Resignation

Equinix revealed very few details about the departure of its CEO.

The interconnection and colocation provider announced that Steve Smith resigned, leaving the organization after “exercising poor judgment with respect to an employee matter.”

The company was quick to assure investors and customers that the move resulted from a personal issue and not from strategic differences.
Ingram Micro's Kirk Robinson
#6 — Channel People on the Move

Our monthly recap of new hires and promotions made our list for the umpteenth straight time. The edition that posted Jan. 2 featured key moves at master agent/distributors Avant and WTG, TPx Communications, Tech Data and more.
Cylance's Chris Scanlan
#5 — Q&A: Microsoft's Gavriella Schuster

Not long after committing to delivering a keynote at the upcoming Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, Gavriella Schuster, corporate VP, One Commercial Partner at Microsoft, sat down with our Lynn Haber to cover a bevy of topics, ranging from business transformation to partner challenges and opportunities.

"I think that the biggest opportunity for partners is to rethink the way they sell technology and who they’re selling to," Schuster told us. "The buyers of technology have shifted — primarily away from it being an IT sale to a business decision-maker on the front end running a business [that] is looking to technology to support and enhance their business."

Read the full Q&A.
TPx's Greg Iuzzolino
#4 — M&A Update

The last two months of 2017 featured some critically important mergers and acquisitions that will shape the channel for years to come. Our roundup featuring purchases by Verizon, VMware and Rackspace caught your eye.
Reinvent Personnel
#3 — Channel Influencer Awards

The channel likes awards, so we thought we'd create one that will quickly become among the most desired honors in the industry.

Channel Partners and Channel Futures last month debuted the Channel Influencer Awards, which recognize 25 organizations to watch, eight technologies that will take off in 2018, eight channel innovators impacting the direction of the new channel, and eight business trends that will have customers buzzing this year.

Download our digital issue to see which people, companies and technologies we recognized, then keep your eye out for this month's print edition, in which we will name our person of the year.
NewVoiceMedia personnel
#2 — CenturyLink Bonus, Merit-Raise Cuts

As the calendar turned to 2018, we learned that CenturyLink would put merit raises on hold for its employees for the foreseeable future. That followed news from December that it was canceling holiday bonuses. All of this came amid word from AT&T and some other large companies that they would give their employees bonuses in part due to the tax-reform bill signed into law at the end of the year.

As if that weren't enough, interest in those stories drove our readers to a story from November on layoffs resulting from CenturyLink's purchase and integration of Level 3 Communications.

All told, the interest in CenturyLink in January was high, just not for all the right reasons.
Cloud Computing
#1 — Job Cuts at AT&T, Windstream, VMware

And more from the "it bleeds, it leads" department — job cuts. Channel Partners readers eyeballed a pair of stories involving layoffs by AT&T – with numbers in the hundreds, even thousands depending on the report – more than any others on our site in January.

Not far behind were posts about cuts at Windstream and VMware, the latter of which resulted from its purchase of VeloCloud.

All of the companies issued statements similar to what we heard from VMware: “Workforce rebalancing is a continual activity across VMware’s businesses and geographies to ensure that resources are aligned with business objectives and customer needs. We continue to recruit in areas of strategic importance for the company.”

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