Google has turned to India’s Supreme Court as a “last hope” to block an order that has the potential to reshape the Android ecosystem. Last October, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) fined Google $161.9 million and barred the search giant from requiring OEMs to preinstall Google apps and services on their phones. On Wednesday, an appeals tribunal rejected the company’s request to block the ruling, which is scheduled to go into effect on January 19th. According to court documents seen by Reuters, Google filed a challenge against the tribunal’s decision with the country’s top court on Saturday. The company reportedly sees the effort as its last and best hope at preventing the CCI’s order from impacting its business. Google did not immediately respond to Engadget’s comment request.
While the $161.9 million fine is tiny for Google, the order is likely to force the company to change its deals with Android manufacturers dramatically. The CCI seeks to prevent Google from including “anti-fragmentation” clauses that bar Android forks. The order would also force the company to allow third-party app stores on Google Play, and allow users to uninstall first-party apps they don’t want on their phones. India is a critical market for Google. The country is home to about 606.6 million smartphone users, and about 97 percent of the phones in India run Android. In other words, the company can’t afford to exit the market.