Sony has confirmed it will support AAC format audio in a future version of its music software and products.

While this support doesn't yet extend to enabling iTunes users to play their iTunes Music Store purchases on a Sony device, it will mean such users will be able to export ripped songs in the AAC format from iTunes to Sony's music management software, Sonic Stage.

In its first attempts at creating some interest in its digital music products Sony tried to popularise its own format, Atrac, a proprietary format that's not used by anyone else.

The company has now turned to a laissez-faire approach to digital music, and supports other popular formats, including Windows Media, MP3 and now AAC.

The new version of Sonic Stage ships on May 25, a report claims.

AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) was developed by the MPEG group that includes Dolby, Fraunhofer, AT&T, Sony and Nokia. Apple claims that they use the format because of its "exceptional performance and quality".

All of the music sold in the iTunes Music Store uses AAC with Apple's FairPlay DRM (digital rights management). By default when music is riped from a CD into iTunes the AAC format (without DRM) will be used.