Microsoft made a lot of big announcements during its Build 2023 developers conference this week. That included reveals like Windows Copilot, a redesign of its Edge browser, and adding Bing Search to ChatGPT.
However, one reveal that Microsoft casually mentioned deep inside in a blog post managed to get a lot of attention from users and the media online. Windows 11 will soon add native support for opening a number of archive file types, including RAR.
As we mentioned when we first posted on this development, the RAR format remains very popular for Windows PC users 30 years after it was first created by Eugene Roshal, and 28 years after he created the archive program WinRAR. It’s been used by millions of people since then to both open and compress files in the RAR format.
Now that Windows 11 will soon have the ability to open RAR archives on its own, we wondered how win.rar GmbH, the Germany-based company that owns and updates the WinRAR program, felt about this new development. We asked the company for a statement and received one via email from Louise Cusworth of the WinRAR sales team:
It’s taken Microsoft 30 years to implement support for RAR files into the Windows OS, and we were taken by surprise by the announcement, but now we’re wondering if they’re considering providing the RAR engine in 30 years, too?
Microsoft announced many other features for the next Windows 11 release, but obviously the part about the support for different archives and for .rar, in particular, created a big splash on the internet.
First of all, we feel honoured with Microsoft’s decision. This will hopefully make RAR compression even more popular and more accessible to those users who are not familiar with WinRAR.
Are we concerned? Of course we are, because we are a small company and Microsoft is a big international multi-billion dollar company with a lot of power. However, others might be even more concerned about Microsoft’s decision.
When searching on Google for “how to open rar files”, we see the advertisements of our competitors; this could become obsolete in the future, but we simply don’t know.
Although users will still need WinRAR to create RAR files, they’ll no longer need it to open their .rar files (which was never exclusive to WinRAR anyway), but, hopefully, there are enough people out there who will continue to support a small software company like us, so that we can continue to develop WinRAR for a long time to come!
Your article and the many others that are now popping up online, introduce both challenges and benefits for our business. We need to keep developing WinRAR to make it even more attractive to users, and we have just released the Beta version for WinRAR 6.22 and are currently working on a major upgrade, which will hopefully be ready by the end of the year.
We want to thank Louise for this statement. It will certainly be very interesting to see if people will continue to use WinRAR and if Microsoft also decides to add native support for archiving files in the RAR format for future Windows releases.