It’s been a long time in coming, but Netflix has finally expanded its “Watch Instantly” streaming service to include Macs, and ironically Apple customers have Microsoft to thank for it as content delivery will be powered by Silverlight – Microsoft’s Flash substitute. The Netflix player will also use Microsoft’s Play Ready DRM to protect its content.

Netflix says the service is initially open only to a small percentage of new subscribers, and will only work on Intel-based Macs. The company still has a long way to go before its instant viewing library can compare with its DVD rental library, but the Mac compatibility does bring Netflix one step closer to being truly competitive with the iTunes Store for video rentals.