Apple is accused of leaving independent Apple dealers in the cold with many resellers in Chicago closing their doors while it basks in its current current good fortune.

"Having loyally sold and serviced Apple products for years, including at times when marketable products and customers were in short supply, players now find themselves being sliced out of the picture by Apple itself," writes Chicago Business.

"An aggressive push by Apple to create a network of sleek, company-owned stores across the US – including four in Chicago – is crushing those who remain in its longtime dealer network.

"Some are now suing Apple, alleging unfair tactics to steer customers to Apple Stores," notes the report.

12 per cent survival

There used to be around 24 independent Apple resellers in Chicago but the Chicago Business claims that this is now down to three – a 12.5 per cent survival rate.

And those resellers are being "forced to reshape their business, focusing on servicing hardware rather than selling it," writes the Chicago Business.

Former Ohio Apple dealer Joe Weingarten, who last month filed suit against Apple in California Superior Court on behalf of independent resellers, said: "Within a few years, all of the independent resellers will probably disappear as Apple extends its storefront. When Apple was suffering, we were the ones who supported them."

Once the core of the Apple system, independent resellers are now marginal, concludes the report.