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Bill Gates wishes ctrl-alt-del was one button

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 9/21/2017 Sean Rossman
Bill Gates takes part in the Bloomberg Global Business Forum on Wednesday in New York City. Heads of state and international business leaders met to discuss global issues and challenges to economic growth. The inaugural year of the forum was held concurrently with the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. © John Moore, Getty Images Bill Gates takes part in the Bloomberg Global Business Forum on Wednesday in New York City. Heads of state and international business leaders met to discuss global issues and challenges to economic growth. The inaugural year of the forum was held concurrently with the United Nations General Assembly in New York City.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has pledged to give more than half of his enormous wealth to philanthropy and helped make the personal computer a reality — but he cannot live down the control-alt-delete keyboard function.

On Wednesday, the billionaire admitted the three-strokes PC users must use to log on to their computer or interrupt a program could be just one button.

David Rubenstein, co-founder and co-CEO of private equity firm The Carlyle Group, raised the issue Wednesday during a panel discussion at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York City. 

"You are the person who came up with the idea of doing it that way," Rubenstein said in this Bloomberg video of the discussion. "Why did you do that?"

The question drew laughs from the audience and from Gates' fellow panelists. Gates took a long pause before answering. 

"Clearly, the people involved, they should have put another key on in order to make that work," he said. "I'm not sure you can go back and change small things in your life without putting the other things at risk. Sure, if I can make one small edit, I'd make that a single key operation."

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It wasn't the first time Gates addressed control-alt-delete. Rubenstein asked him about it four years ago during an interview at Harvard University.

"We could have had a single button," Gates said then. "The guy who did the IBM keyboard design didn't want to give us our single button... It was a mistake."

Follow Sean Rossman on Twitter: @SeanRossman

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