Rumors that Apple will remove Bose sound products from stores began circulating a week ago. Now, it has become reality: all Bose speakers and headphones are no longer seen on Apple's online retailing site. Both Apple and Bose have declined to comment.

People who search for "Bose Speaker System" or "Bose Headphones" may still find the words in the site's search box as suggested topics. However, it is confirmed that the products are no longer available.

Apple's online store offered a total of 17 products from Bose. These included a number of SoundLink Bluetooth speakers and noise-cancelling headphones from the popular QuietComfort series.

Other brands of headphones, such as premium models from Marshall, Bowers & Wilkins and Sennheiser, however, are still available.

The pullout must have been prompted by Apple's acquisition of Beats for $3 billion. Two months after the announcement, Bose filed a lawsuit claiming that Beats had copied five of the company's patents on their noise-cancelling headphones.

Bose filed the complaint with the International Trade Commission and demanded that the selling and importation of certain products from Beats be stopped.

The lawsuit was settled on Oct. 10 under a confidential agreement between both parties.

Apart from infringement claims, competition between the two headphone makers seemed to have escalated when Bose closed a marketing deal with the National Football League.

The deal required that all other manufacturers' headphones should be kept out of sight on game day, which starts from the moment the players appear on the field, continuing when the final whistle is blown and stretching into the next 90 minutes that follow after the end of the game.

Colin Kaepernick, a quarterback from the San Francisco 49ers, reportedly broke the rule when at a post-game conference, he was seen wearing a pair of pink Beats headphones that were designed for a breast cancer awareness campaign. He was fined $10,000.

Other players, including Cowboys defender Barry Church, Seattle Seahawks star Richard Sherman and Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, were also fined.

After the penalty, Kaepernick continued wearing his Beats headphones on camera but the logo was hidden with masking tape.

The decision to remove Bose from Apple Stores could just be the company's way of responding to the controversy. A different angle points out that Apple must have opted to promote Beats instead of selling a rival brand in its stores.

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