Dell will lay off 10 per cent of its 78,800 workers, in a continuing effort to improve profits as the company completes its investigation of accounting fraud.

Dell will make the layoffs over the next 12 months, including workers across its geographic regions, customer segments and job functions, the company said in a statement. The move is part of a corporate cost review spanning product development and procurement, service and support delivery.

Company CEO Michael Dell said that layoffs are difficult, but said: "We know these actions are critical to our ability to deliver unprecedented value to our customers now and in the future."

The company also announced it made $759 million in profit for the first quarter of its 2008 fiscal year, down slightly from the $762 million it earned for the same quarter last year.

Dell reported revenue of $14.6 billion and earnings of $0.34 per share, both well above Wall Street expectations of $13.95 billion in revenue and $0.26 earnings per share, according to analysts polled by Thomson Financial.

Despite its success in beating the financial forecast, Dell also said it had spent $46 million in the last quarter on expenses for the investigation into accounting and financial reporting. Dell began an internal study of its books because of questions raised in 2006 by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Dell blamed that situation for its decision to file only preliminary results on Thursday, marking the fourth consecutive statement in which the company has not filed an audited, official earnings account.

Those missing statements have also forced Dell to fight to keep its stock listed on the Nasdaq exchange, which requires all public companies to file audited Form 10K papers in order to be publicly traded. Dell has already won several extensions of a deadline to supply those numbers, and on 4 May it requested more time to meet the conditions.