There isn’t any question that Apple‘s iPad line has been a major hit, but the time it’s enjoying on top may not last much longer. Android has been slowly taking away Apple’s market share with a number of excellent tablets (the Nexus 10 and Nexus 7 immediately come to mind), and that looks like it’ll continue as we crawl toward 2016. IDC has released new predictions for the tablet market, and unsurprisingly, the predictions have Apple’s share falling year after year moving forward.

Specifically speaking, IDC says that Apple’s market share should be at 53.8% by the end of the year. That’s still pretty good, but it fall short of Apple’s 56.3% in 2011. It appears that Android will be main reason Apple starts slipping, as it’s expected to rise from 39.8% in 2011 to 42.7% by the end of this year.

Most of us were already able to figure out that Android will cut into Apple’s market share as time goes on, but it’s IDC’s numbers for 2016 that are particularly interesting. According to its numbers, Apple will be at 49.7% and Android will be at 39.7% – both falling from where they’re expected to be at the end of 2012. Why the drop? Because IDC predicts that Windows will increase its market share by a significant amount in that time, rising from the 2.9% predicted for 2012 to 10.3% in 2016.

So, Android will continue to chip away at Apple, but both will face some stiff competition from Microsoft and its tablet business. It should be an interesting few years, to say the least. Where do you think these companies will end up? Do you agree with IDC’s numbers, or are they all wrong?

[via SlashGear]