For a few more weeks Jobs and the board kept looking for a permanent CEO.
Various names surfaced -- George M. C. Fisher of Kodak, Sam Palmisano at IBM, Ed Zander at Sun Microsystems
but most of the candidates were understandably reluctant to consider becoming CEO if Jobs was going to remain an active board member.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Zander declined to be considered
because he "didn't want Steve looking over his shoulder, second-guessing him on every decision."
At one point Jobs and Ellison pulled a prank on a clueless computer consultant who was campaigning for the job;
they sent him an email saying that he had been selected,
which caused both amusement and embarrassment when stories appeared in the papers that they were just toying with him.
By December it had become clear that Jobs's iCEO status had evolved from interim to indefinite.
As Jobs continued to run the company, the board quietly deactivated its search.
"I went back to Apple and tried to hire a CEO, with the help of a recruiting agency, for almost four months," he recalled.
"But they didn't produce the right people.
That's why I finally stayed. Apple was in no shape to attract anybody good."