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. 

Chris Neiger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), and Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.