The value of openness

In a New York Times article today about AOL’s future, one of its excutives makes a remarkable comment:

“My biggest problem is the walled garden,” said Mr. Kelly, who runs all of AOL’s Web properties in addition to ad sales. “The world can’t see the good stuff we do every day.”

This is AOL, the company that virtually defined the model of keeping information off the public Internet and available only to its subscribers. It now realizes, at least to some extent, the positive network effects of openness, which companies such as Google and Yahoo! are tapping into.

Now, if only the broadband and wireless companies who are rushing to build new walled gardens could get the same message….