Over the past few years, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has been relentless in its pursuit of the tablet market. The company is on its fourth-generation Surface tablet, has continually improved the Windows operating system (after a few missteps) for the touchscreen world, and new IDC data shows that Microsoft's tablet focus won't be in vain. 

By 2019, Microsoft is forecast to hold 17.8% of the tablet market (up from just 8.5% now), with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) coming in slightly ahead with 25.7%, and Alphabet's (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) Google Android OS controlling the remaining 56.5%. Click on the slideshow below to see how Microsoft is expected to gain ground on the competition, and why its tablets will make the most gains.