WinZip 1.0 was released in April 1991 as a graphical user interface (GUI) front-end for PKZIP. Earlier in January 1991 Nico Mak Computing released a GUI front-end for OS/2 Presentation Manager called PMZIP. It used OS/2 versions of the PKWARE, Inc. PKZIP and PKUNZIP programs. Originally released on CompuServe, availability of WinZip expanded across major online services, including GEnie, Prodigy and other online services. In 1993, WinZip announced the launch of its official support for customers on the Windows Utility Forum, serving over 100,000 members, providing updates and related information. The freely downloadable WinZip soon found itself included in best-selling Windows computing titles as part of companion disks, including the all-time best-selling Windows 3.0 book, Windows Secrets, by Brian Livingston. By 1994, WinZip had become the official and required compression tool used by system operators on CompuServe for forum file libraries.
Starting from version 5.0 in 1993, the creators of WinZip incorporated compression code from the Info-ZIP project, thus eliminating the need for the PKZIP executable to be present.
From version 6.0 until version 9.0, registered users could download the newest versions of the software, enter their original registration information or install over the top of their existing registered version, and thereby obtain a free upgrade. This upgrade scheme was discontinued as of version 10.0. WinZip is available in standard and professional versions. However, the shell in Windows ME and later versions of Microsoft Windows has the ability to open and create .zip files (titled "compressed folders"), which reduces the need for extra compression software.
On May 2, 2006, Corel Corporation, best known for its WordPerfect and CorelDRAW product lines, announced that it had completed the acquisition of WinZip Computing from Vector Capital.
WinZip 1.0 for Mac OS X was released in November 2010. This version is compatible with Mac OS X v10.6 “Snow Leopard” and Intel-based v10.5 “Leopard” Macs. WinZip Mac Edition 2 includes support for OS X Mountain Lion.