Intel has announced its latest financial results, beating market expectations and declaring the worst was over for the computing industry even as its first-quarter profit fell about 56 percent from a year earlier. Specifically, the world’s largest computer-chip maker saw a net profit of $647 million, down from $1.4 billion last year, while revenue dropped 26% to $7.1 billion.

Although netbooks are believed to be the one bright spot in the market, revenue from Atom processors and the chipsets that drive them was also down 27 percent sequentially, to $219 million. All these numbers are down a healthy amount when compared to other quarters, but Intel executives believe things could have been much worse if not for their operational efficiency and the fact that inventory was reduced 19 percent below fourth-quarter levels. The company also stated they were on track to reduce 2009 operational spending from 2008.

CEO Paul Otellini believes the worst is over from an inventory correction and demand level adjustment perspective, and claims that shipment patterns are starting to return to normal seasonal patterns. Despite his optimism, Intel refused to provide a revenue outlook for the current quarter, citing continued economic uncertainty and limited visibility.