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The influence of lattice mismatch induced strain on the growth mode, surface morphology, and kinetically controlled introduction of defects at the earliest stages of molecular‐beam epitaxical growth of semiconducting compounds is investigated via computer simulations. A variety of combinations of the possible ways in which compressive or tensile in‐plane strain may modify the atomistic kinetic rates involved in growth have been considered and their consequences compared with the available experimental information. A few illustrative examples relevant to systems such as InGaAs/GaAs(100), InGa(Al)As/InP(100), and GaAs/Si are presented.