Channel Partners’ Top 12 Stories in July



From layoffs to big personnel changes, July didn’t lack for significant channel news.

Our latest list of top 12 stories features a promise from Rackspace to its partners, CenturyLink’s CEO going on the offensive over fraud allegations, and Verizon making a huge change at the top of its channel structure.

But that’s not all. A story about AT&T retiring landline service and a ranking of the leaders in SIP trunking also made our list.

Rankings are based on a melding of online page views and our weekly newsletter results.

What was No. 1? Click through our gallery to find out!

Looking for more top stories? Click here to see our most-read posts in June.

Follow executive editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

BMC's Kevin Orr

#12 — Extreme Networks Reassures Nervous Partners

In a story published in late June, we told you how Extreme Networks has been answering questions and reassuring nervous partners and customers since it got the OK to buy Avaya’s networking business for  $100 million — a deal that closed in July.

Avaya filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in January. It entered into an asset purchase agreement with Extreme for the networking business in a section 363 sale under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. 

Extreme recently held an informational webinar aimed at helping customers and partners better understand the latest updates related to the transition.

Malwarebytes' Marin Kleczynski
#11 — CenturyLink Responds to Allegations

CenturyLink CEO Glen Post went on the offensive in a an email to employees, telling them that he is cooperating with a Minnesota Attorney General's lawsuit alleging the telco billed higher amounts than its sales agents quoted customers for internet and cable television service.

CenturyLink faces a flurry of class-action lawsuits in several states that followed a lawsuit filed in Arizona by former employee Heidi Heiser, who said she was fired from her job as a customer service and sales agent days after notifying Post of the alleged billing scheme.

Post, who denies Heiser ever notified him, wrote, “These claims were accompanied by what seems to be a pretty coordinated negative media and PR campaign aimed at CenturyLink and a rush of securities litigation as well."

Intelisys' Stephanie Bouras
#10 — Level 3 Fends Off Verizon in SIP

Level 3 Communications is tops in SIP trunking for the second year in a row, according to IHS Markit’s 2017 SIP Trunking Service Provider Scorecard. The annual report ranks and analyzes the top providers of Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking services in North America.

Verizon was close behind Level 3 thanks to its purchase of XO Communications.

Monthly recurring revenue MRR
#9 — Rackspace Makes Promises to Partners

At the company's Solve event in New York City, new Rackspace channel chief Lisa McLin talked with Channel Partners about her new role at the managed cloud provider, a business she has called home for 14 years.

She also addressed the importance of making partners comfortable with the Rackspace portfolio and outlined her plans for the next several months in the company's channel program.

#8 — Ingram Micro Hires, Promotions

Ingram Micro beefed up its cloud unit’s executive team. The distributor announced hiring two leaders and promoted another in Ingram Micro Cloud.

Richard Dufty, formerly of AppDirect, is the new senior VP of Ingram's global cloud platform. Tim FitzGerald, previously with Avnet, becomes VP of cloud channel sales. And Jason Bystrak, formerly Ingram Micro Cloud's executive director of North America, is now executive director of partner enablement.

Learn more about these execs here.

Sennheiser Headset
#7 — Colocation on the Rise

Research firm MarketsandMarkets predicted the colocation market to go from $32 billion this year to $62 billion in 2022. That's an annual growth rate of 14.6 percent.

Small and medium-size businesses, which enjoy fewer infrastructure requirements than their larger counterparts, will grow the fastest in colocation, according to the study.

AT&T, Equinix and Level 3 were among those companies listed as leading vendors in the space.

Read more about it here.

#6 — Vonage Cuts Jobs

Published the last week of June, layoffs at Vonage got your attention last month.

The service provider said it was eliminating almost 5 percent of its 1,800-plus workforce, citing "redundancies" as it has "grown rapidly in a short period of time."

Vonage has made a handful of acquisitions in the past couple of years, significantly upping the stakes in the race for UCaaS supremacy.

SupportBots' Alex Shvayetsky
#5 — Crown Castle Buys Lightower

What started as speculation the second week of July became reality just a couple of days later: Crown Castle, the cell-tower operator, would agree to buy Lightower Fiber Networks for more than $7 billion.

The buy is expected to enhance Crown Castle's position as the largest provider of shared wireless infrastructure in the United States, with about 40,000 towers, 50,000 small-cell nodes on air or under development, and 60,000 route miles of fiber nationally.

Click here to read more about this major transaction.
Sales Growth
#4 — NetSuite-Oracle Update

Channel Partners chatted with Craig West, VP of channel sales at NetSuite, to learn more about the company's business and partner strategy since being acquired by Oracle.

"With the acquisition, our sales go-to-market strategy is unchanged. With the acquisition, we’re running our business independently so we still have direct sellers and channel partners," West told us.

Read what else he had to say here.

Fist Bump
#3 — Telecom-IT Layoff Tracker

Despite a growing economy and a shortage of skilled workers in some IT positions, our recap of telecom and IT layoffs from the first half of the year identified a number of big names that are trimming their workforces.

Windstream, Rackspace and Zayo were among those companies highlighted. We've got the full breakdown here.

Cox logo
#2 — Schijns Leaves Verizon

Longtime Verizon channel leader Janet Schijns stepped aside in July to take a senior VP position with retail giant Office Depot. Joe Chuisano (not pictured), most recently managing director of Verizon Business Markets, has stepped in to take her role.

Jake Heinz (right) is the new chief marketing officer for VBM, sliding into the role after five years in a similar position with XO Communications, which Verizon bought earlier this year.

Crown Castle's Jay Brown
#1 — AT&T Landlines

Always a hot topic in the channel, AT&T continued down the road of discontinuing landline service in certain parts of the country — the latest being in Illinois.

The FCC has proposed a plan aimed at simplifying the copper/legacy service retirement process. It focuses on easing the transition to IP networks, streamlining network notification rules and eliminating rules that requires service providers to dedicate capital to maintain TDM equipment.

In a blog, Dave Talbott, AT&T’s assistant vice president of federal regulatory, said since 2012 consumers have doubled down on wireless and IP-based services, largely abandoning plain old telephone services (POTS) in favor of these newer services.

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