Some time ago France passed a law that allows regulators to force Apple to make the iTunes store and their line of iPod players compatible with other music services and players. Some people might not be aware that iPods only work with iTunes - it's a packaged deal.
The French law came into effect on Aug 3rd and while it will take a while for the infrastructure to develop in order to actually do anything with the law, it's a step in the right direction.
The iTunes/iPod thing isn't a huge deal in terms of podcasting yet, but the writing is on the wall. For all their good will "we're not Microsoft" advertising, Apple is as closed and proprietary as the Redmond behemoth. Steve Jobs is no more our friend than Bill Gates is and while it's not entirely clear why Apple has added podcasts to iTunes, it is clear that there's a method to the madness. Forcing Apple to either open up their system to allow consumer choice or forcing them to close their doors in countries that won't accept such behaviour is a Good Thing (tm). It signals that we won't be coralled into proprietary solutions simply because we don't understand the technology in use.
Now, if we'd only get our head out of our collective asses here in North America I'd feel a whole lot better.