ZIP file is a lossless data compression format for files and folders.
The ZIP format was developed in 1989 by Phil Katz, and was first implemented in PKWARE, Inc.'s PKZIP utility to replace the previous compression format, called ARC. The reason ZIP files were created was due to a lawsuit against Phil Katz from the creators of ARC, which implied that ZIP was using the ARC technology.
The name "zip," which was suggested by Phil Katz's friend, was supposed to mean that it is "moving at a very high speed." The creators implied that the new ZIP compressor was faster than the ARC compressor.
With the help of ZIP, files can be both compressed (using different methods) or stored without compression. ZIP applies a number of compression algorithms, the most common being DEFLATE.
At present, most of the software utilities support the ZIP format, which makes it very popular and convenient. In 1998 Microsoft Windows included the built-in ZIP support.