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Isaacson: Why Steve Jobs would've done Beats deal

If Steve Jobs was still running Apple, he would have bought Beats Electronics, said Walter Isaacson, author of the best-selling biography about the late Apple co-founder. "It feels like part of the DNA," he told CNBC on Friday.

The $3 billion Beats deal brings into the Apple fold music insider and longtime Jobs friend Jimmy Iovine, co-founder of the headphone and streaming music company. The other co-founder of Beats, Andre "Dr. Dre" Young, will also be working for Apple.

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"Steve was all about music," Isaacson said in a "Squawk Box" interview. "He and Jimmy Iovine totally bonded on this."

When Jobs was putting together the iTunes store, he leaned on Iovine, who had the connections in the music industry.

"There was a long, long period where Jimmy Iovine was riding shotgun with Steve," Isaacson said, "to get music companies to go ahead and be part of this iTunes store and the whole Apple ecosystem."

Apple CEO Tim Cook
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Apple CEO Tim Cook

Now that Tim Cook is running Apple and trying to play catch-up against Spotify and Pandora in the streaming music space, Isaacson said, "I think Tim needs someone to ride shotgun with him."

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Cook has brought in other outsiders including Angela Ahrendts, who had been CEO of luxury good maker Burberry. Ahrendts is overseeing Apple's bricks-and-mortar and online stores.

Cook "is bringing in talented people who have an artistic sensibility. That's what Steve had," Isaacson said. "Steve was the one who brought the art, the beauty—the liberal arts as he would say—to the technology."

Isaacson said he has confidence that Cook will be able to bring the outside talent under the Apple tent to drive the company forward.

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—By CNBC's Matthew J. Belvedere.

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  • Co-CEO, Revere Digital; Co-Executive Editor, Re/code; and Co-Executive Producer, The Code Conference. Re/code is part of the CNBC network.

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  • Co-CEO, Revere Digital; Co-Executive Editor, Re/code; and Co-Executive Producer, The Code Conference. Re/code is part of the CNBC network.

  • Co-CEO, Revere Digital; Co-Executive Editor, Re/code; and Co-Executive Producer, The Code Conference. Re/code is part of the CNBC network.