May brought us a flurry of news from some of the biggest players in the channel, with many of those stories cracking our top 12.
Backed by Microsoft, Ingram Micro formed an independent cloud platform division of which partners will be able to take advantage. Channel Partners was there when OpenText’s CEO blasted IBM Watson for being “slow” and inflexible.
One of our latest “CP lists” cracked the month’s top 12, with growing interest in the channel for SD-WAN solutions. And partners were interested to read how the latest 5G advancements from Verizon and Sprint will impact them.
All of those stories, plus more layoffs by CenturyLink post Level 3 acquisition, and the growing tensions between AT&T and its union that could end in a strike.
And those are just some of the headlines you’ll find in our top 12 from May. 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 April.
Follow executive editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.
#12 — Office Depot Raises Eyebrows
Yes, that was retail giant Office Depot
you saw on the show floor at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo in April. It took many of you by surprise to learn about the company's big channel push.
Those of you who get up to speed on it at the show watched the video interview we posted with David Beagle, senior director, channel services, who explained
why partners should get on board Office Depot's business-services train.
#11 — IoT Vendors You Should Know
The internet of things (IoT) is where cloud was a few years ago, just waiting for a big chunk of eager channel partners to get on board and make some fresh cash.
We attended Internet of Things World, Channel Partners' sister show in Santa Clara, California, last month, and met IoT vendors you probably know – Avnet, Ericsson, Google and Juniper, for example – and a bunch you don't, but should.Learn about them here.
#10 — Sprint Launches IoT Marketplace
Speaking of IoT, Sprint
announced its IoT Factory,
a digital store with boxed internet-of-things offerings.
More than 550,000 developers have contributed to the products, and Sprint has partnered with myDevices and The Goldie Group to launch the marketplace. myDevices delivers the boxed solutions, and The Goldie Group provides telecom services that scale the IoT connectivity.
The marketplace will enable partners, wholesalers, system integrators and others to buy solutions as resellers, the company said.
#9 — Ingram Micro, Microsoft Team on CloudBlueIngram Micro
formed a new, independent cloud platform division and a strategic alliance with Microsoft that allows it to run on Azure.
It's called CloudBlue
. Separate from the distributor's cloud marketplace, CloudBlue will focus exclusively on selling the CloudBlue commerce platform and services to service providers, such as MSPs, telecommunications companies, large VARs and other distributors.
#8 — Dell EMC Offers Partners More
In his keynote address at Dell Technologies World, which Channel Partners attended, Michael Dell said Dell EMC's channel is now a $43 billion business, and to keep it growing, the company will invest in new programs, incentives, products and services designed to fast-track its partners' delivery of digital services to their customers.
Specifically, the company's MyRewards Program, an opt-in, points-based reward program for Dell EMC solution provider sales representatives and system engineers, will offer “bigger and better promotions with up to [three times] bonus payout and simplified, express claiming globally," the company said.
#7 — 20 Top SD-WAN Providers
Our list of 20 top SD-WAN providers
, published in March, cracked our top 12 again in May.
Based on feedback from analysts, our editorial advisory board members, recent news reports and Gartner’s Competitive Landscape: WAN Edge report, we compiled a list, in no particular order, of 20 top SD-WAN providers – a mix of pure-play types and SD-WAN partners – that are making the most of the current competitive landscape and charting success.
#6 — OpenText CEO Blasts IBM Watson
Who could find fault with Jeopardy! winner, IBM's Watson, right? Well, a competitor could.
Channel Partners was there at OpenText
Enfuse in Las Vegas last month when the company's CEO, Mark Barrenechea, took a shot
at Big Blue's cognitive platform.
“What I don’t like about Watson is it is expensive, takes a long time to use, and doesn’t fit our belief system,” he said. “Customers want to move fast.”
#5 — 5G and the Partner Opportunity
Sprint and Verizon last month announced a handful of locations for 5G network launches later this year. It made us wonder just how big of a play 5G technology will be in the channel.
So we turned to Larry Walsh, CEO and chief analyst at The 2112 Group, to tell us.
“It will enable a new class of technology and services, wireless wide-area networks to autonomous vehicles. This is the level of capabilities I’m talking about with 5G,” Walsh said. “But when I say that we have to be cautious about not oversubscribing to the benefits, it’s because if we put too much hype into it, then we could ultimately reach unrecognized expectations.”Read more about what he had to say here.
#4 — Channel People on the MoveThis edition
of our popular monthly series featured new hires and promotions at Intelisys, Telarus, 8x8 and RingCentral.
#3 — UCaaS Rankings
"We're No. 1! We're No. 1!"
That popular chant was ringing out in RingCentral's offices last month, as IHS Markit ranked the company as the No. 1 provider in UCaaS, thanks to “above-average market growth and market share leadership position."
8x8, Verizon and Mitel all had strong showings as well. See who else made the list and why
#2 — CWA vs. AT&T
Can't we all just get along?
AT&T and its largest union took their contract talks for Midwest employees down to the wire late in the month, with both sides standing firm — AT&T issuing a "final offer" and the CWA turning it down
Then on May 31 and June 1, workers initiated some walkouts.
#1 — CenturyLink Layoffs
The No. 1 story of the month – by far – was the announcement that CenturyLink would lay off hundreds of workers
or more as a result of its acquisition of Level 3 Communicatinos, increased efficiencies and automation. The number accounts for about 2 percent of its workforce.
CenturyLink previously cut jobs just after the close of the Level 3 acquisition. In November, it confirmed it was laying off more than 150 employees.
“As a result of our acquisition of Level 3, our customers, from individual consumers to global enterprises, benefit from our expanded, innovative network solutions and our complementary managed services,” said CenturyLink spokesman Mark Molzen. “However, the combination of two large companies also creates redundant positions that must be addressed to remain competitive. In addition, as part of our ongoing efforts to deliver high levels of customer service, we are implementing best practices and increasing automation. As a result of these two factors, we are reducing our workforce by approximately 2 percent.”