Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX ) saw Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) ending support for the Silverlight plugin, which sits at the heart of Netflix video streams. So the digital video veteran started pushing for changes to the still-developing HTML5 standard for modern Web browsers, in order to support encrypted and tightly controlled media streams.
The suggested changes weren't popular in some circles, but Netflix surged ahead and found an early partner for its new technology. It's not Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL ) Chrome -- that browser still requires a special plugin to make use of the new video streams. And it's not open-source champion Mozilla Firefox, where developers hate the very idea of building copy-protection functions into the browser.
Nope, Netflix went full circle and built HTML5-ready encryption and copy protection tools right into Microsoft's latest browser, the Internet Explorer 11 version that ships in the preview edition of Windows 8.1. Redmond's much-maligned, market-leading browser is now leading the way into a brave new world.
In the following video, Fool contributor Anders Bylund explains what's going on, and whether he thinks this is a good move for Netflix and Microsoft. Don't worry -- he's wearing a flameproof body suit.