Bill Gates recently admitted that the familiar "Control+Alt+Delete" command was a "mistake."

During a far-reaching discussion at Harvard on Sept. 21, Gates was questioned about why the architects of the PC decided to go with the Control+Alt+Delete command. He said the decision was actually made by IBM.

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

That guy, as GeekWire pointed out, is David Bradley, who designed the original IBM PC. During IBM's 20th anniversary of the IBM PC, Bradley said Control+Alt+Delete came about when PC architects were "trying to solve a development problem." While testing software, it would often freeze, requiring a reboot. As a result, Bradley created a shortcut, which was Control+Alt+Delete.

Developers "originally intended it to be an Easter egg," Bradley continued, but news of the shortcut caught on. "It was like a five-minute job," he said, "I didn't realize I was going to create a cultural icon when I did it."

He then quipped that while "I may have invented it, but I think Bill made it famous."

"We did some very clever things" when developing the PC, Gates said last week, but Control+Alt+Delete was not one of them.

PC Magazine