Spotify has firmly denied speculation that it is in talks with Apple over a possible acquisition. US tech blog TechCrunch started the rumour last night, describing “on-again, off-again discussions” and adding for good measure that Spotify nearly sold to Google last year for a billion dollars.Fanciful? Here's Spotify's reaction to the Apple rumour, as given to Music Ally by the company's spokesperson: “We have absolutely no intention of selling Spotify. We're working hard to build the best music service we can and are in this for the long haul.”The rumours come just a few weeks after reports that Apple was actively encouraging labels NOT to license Spotify in the US. Now, new US-originated speculation suggests that Apple might buy its streaming music rival.The immediate conclusion might be that Spotify is the source of the latter rumour, in an attempt to smoke out other potential suitors (Google?) and spark a bidding war. The company's robust denial suggests otherwise – and indeed, speculation that it's about to be bought by Apple could be as harmful to its US licensing negotiations as pressure from Apple on the labels to stymie its expansion plans.