The week that was: 02/16/14

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Driving competition

Pittsburghers hoping for a late-night lift home are getting new options. Internet-based ride-sharing services Lyft and Uber are bringing their businesses to Pittsburgh, news that has brought less-than-welcoming reactions from Robert C. Delucia and James Campolongo, heads of Classy Cab's Star Transportation Group and Yellow Cab's Pittsburgh Transportation group, respectively. The two men sent letters asking law enforcement officers be given power to cite drivers of the services. State law requires drivers who receive compensation for transportation have a commercial license. However, with Pittsburghers, including Mayor Bill Peduto, expressing support for alternative cab services, Lyft and Uber may have won an early battle for public opinion.

The Verizon shuffle

A closure of Verizon Wireless customer contact centers in Warrendale and Cranberry will lead to a shift in job locations and titles for around 1,000 employees in the region. The affected employees have the option to apply for new positions locally, to relocate out-of-state or to accept a severance package. So far, 600 employees at the Cranberry center and 430 at the Warrendale center will be offered relocation. The Warrendale regional headquarters will stay open with 340 employees. The Cranberry office will shut down May 8.

Quote of the Week

"This feels like the next very large step in a journey towards a grand dream of the far-flung future where computers will work in very close partnership with humans in ways that are very natural -- anticipating what people want at the right time in the right place, being very responsive to requests, being able to deal with ambiguity and uncertainty, and also being very supportive and friendly rather than -- perhaps -- intimidating."

-- Ron Brachman of Yahoo Labs on the $10 million partnership with Carnegie Mellon University to support machine learning and advanced personalization in smartphone apps.

Technology Drive expanding

The Oakland home base for Pittsburgh technology could expand with a new office center to be built by Oxford Development Co. The Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority board voted to negotiate with Oxford for the sale of 1.5 acres on Technology Drive. The company plans to build a 45,000- to 65,00-square-foot office space on the site.

For these and other stories you may have missed, go to www.post-gazette.com/businessnews.

Deborah M. Todd: dtodd@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1652.


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