Why Bill Gates Chose "Two of Us" to Represent His Friendship with Steve Jobs

Bill Gates did an interview for the BBC's Desert Island Discs, a series that gets to know famous people by talking about the songs they would take with them to a desert island. All of his picks are interesting—and the stories behind them quite illuminating—but one in particular is of note to Apple fans: "Two of Us" by The Beatles.

Bill Gates

Bill Gates

Mr. Gates picked the song because it reminded him of his relationship with the late Steve Jobs. While Apple fans might think more about the rivalry between the two tech icons, Mr. Gates thinks more about the times when the two worked together.

From the interview:

Bill Gates: Steve really is a singular person in the history of personal computing in terms of what he built at Apple. For some periods, we were completely allies working together—I wrote software for the original Apple II. Sometimes he would be very tough on you, sometimes he'd be very encouraging. And he got really great work out of people.

Kirsty Young: He died, of course, in 2011, just 56 years old. As I understand it, you saw him a few months before he died. When you spoke to him, what did the two of you speak about?

BG: Well, in the early years, the intensity had always been about the project, and so when Steve got sick, it was far more mellow in terms of talking about our lives and our kids. In fact, he and I gave a joint interview together, and I talked about how I envied his incredible design skills. Steve was an incredible genius. I was more of an engineer than he was, but anyway, it was fun. It was more of a friendship that was reflective, although tragically then he couldn't overcome the cancer and died.

KY: So tell me then about this next piece of music.

BG: When we did the interview—Steve was really into music. He loved The Beatles, and so did I. And he actually mentioned this song, the "Two of Us," saying that was kind of like this journey we'd been on where we'd been competing and working together, but only we understood how intense and what great memories came out of that.

[Song plays]

KY: Can I call him your good friend?

BG: Absolutely. Absolutely.

The rest of the interview is also interesting, and Mr. Gates talks about his philanthropic work, meeting and working with Bono, meeting and trying to date his future wife, Melinda, and much more. If you're interested in the context of the tech world, I highly, highly recommend this interview.

Listening to the interview on the BBC's site (bizarrely) requires Flash, but you can also download an MP3 version of the interview.

His other picks: