Microsoft chairman Bill Gates is looking forward to new profits - from Macs.

Apple’s iPod and iTunes are generating major interest in Macs. Interest that’s helped create signs of increased market share for Power Macs, PowerBooks, iMacs, eMacs, iBooks and Xserves. And now, Gate’s company stands to gain - on Office sales.

"We're ecumenical people," Gates told the LA Times.

"We have to run everything. Our first graphics interface was on the Macintosh. We've always done well on Macs," he said.

"We don't see Apple as a rival," agreed Scott Erickson, director of product management and marketing for Microsoft’s Mac Business Unit. (Erickson also confesses to some glee when he uses a PowerBook at an internal Microsoft meeting).

Microsoft’s control of Office effectively gives the company leverage in any productive environment, and makes a relationship with Redmond essential to Cupertino.

The new Microsoft also appears more willing to diversify and widen support, according to the report.

"Microsoft isn't just a Windows company anymore," said Caris analyst Mark Stahlman. "The future of Microsoft is other businesses."