Sony won't be leaving iTunes any time soon, said a Sony executive following reports last week that the company would leave the world's largest music store.

"Sony Music as I understand it has no intention of withdrawing from iTunes, they're one of our biggest partners in the digital domain," Sony Network Entertainment COO Shawn Layden told Business Insider. "I think those words were either taken out of context or the person who spoke them was unclear on the circumstances."

Layden spoke in response to reports that seemingly originated with quotes in Australian publication The Age http://www.theage.com.au/digital-life/mp3s/war-looms-as-sony-hints-that-it-will-abandon-itunes-20110210-1aonn.html from Michael Ephraim, head of Australia's Sony Computer Entertainment, who was speaking about iTunes in relation to Sony's cloud-based Qriocity music service, which launched in the U.S. today after debuting in France, U.K. and other several markets last month.

''If we do [get mass takeup for Qriocity] then does Sony Music need to provide content to iTunes?'' Ephraim asked the paper. ''Currently we do. We have to provide it to iTunes as that's the format right now. Publishers are being held to ransom by Apple and they are looking for other delivery systems, and we are waiting to see what the next three to five years will hold.''

Given that iTunes is the world's largest music store, and that Qriocity is a new, unproven music service in a difficult space, the amount of serious coverage Ephraim's quotes received is surprising.