I was unaware of this... I wonder why?
You haven't heard? WinRAR really whips the llama's ass.
No, but seriously...RAR became the standard way back in the day before everyone had a high-speed internet connection. Having a high-speed connection in your home was unheard of. That is, if you had even heard of the internet at all. High-speed connections were reserved for business or, if you were lucky, you were a college student who had access to the university's connection.
Back then ZIP and RAR were roughly equivalent, but where RAR pulled ahead by a large margin was error recovery. When you were on dial-up and and downloading that hot state-of-the art game (that shipped on 6 floppy disks!
) the game was always broke down into multi-archives with one part comprising each disk. With ZIP if one of those parts were compromised during the download due to transmission errors you were stuck re-downloading the entire part again which took a long time. The key feature that ensured RAR's success with the pirate crowd was the recovery records feature. RAR could almost always repair the files saving a lengthy repeat download.