The lack of appropriate substrates has delayed the realisation of devices based on III-nitrides. Currently, the heteroepitaxial growth of GaN by metal organic vapour phase epitaxy (MOVPE) produces GaN layers which, despite huge densities of dislocations, allow the fabrication of highly efficient optoelectronic devices. Henceforth, a new technology in heteroepitaxy of GaN, the epitaxial lateral overgrowth (ELO) has produced GaN layers in which the density of dislocations has been reduced by several orders of magnitude. With the ELO, nitride based laser diodes (LDs) working at room temperature in cw mode with a lifetime of 10,000 hours have been demonstrated by Nichia. In addition to LDs, III-nitrides presently offer a wide range of applications in optoelectronics (high brightness light emitting diodes (LEDs), from amber to UV, solar blind detectors); in electronics, high temperature/high power field effect transistors (FETs). The development of molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) of nitrides has been hindered during several years by the lack of an efficient nitrogen source. This problem being solved, MBE has recently demonstrated state-of-the-art quantum well and quantum dot heterostructures, and 2D electron gas heterostructures. (C) 2000 Academie des sciences/Editions scientifiques et medicales Elsevier SAS.