Last week at Build 2023, Microsoft very casually mentioned it would add support for opening files in a number of formats to Windows 11, including opening RAR files. This move was so unexpected we decided to contact the company behind the popular file archive program WinRAR to get its reaction.
In the email response we received, Louise Cusworth of the WinRAR sales team stated that the company felt "honoured with Microsoft's decision." However, Cusworth did add, "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. " She also stated that this developer creates "both challenges and benefits for our business."
Well, it would appear that WinRAR might be a bit more concerned than Cusworth let on in her statement to us last week. The official WinRAR Twitter page posted a new message stating "Us right now. #Windows11" . The well-known "This is fine" meme image of a cartoon dog surrounded by fire is right below it.
Of course. WinRAR's business model was already interesting. According to its own rules, you could download the archive program and use it for free for a 40-day trial period before you technically had to pay for it. However, the truth is that most people can simply ignore that request and use WinRAR for free with little to no issues.
Having said that, Windows 11's RAR support is only supposed to allow for the opening of those archive files. That means people who want to compress files in that format will still need a third party app like WinRAR. We would like to believe that loophole will keep the company going for some time.
By the way, there's a new version, 6.22, of WinRAR that you can download and use right now. It's mainly a bug fixing update that addresses a few outstanding issues.