Is Microsoft strangling Windows phone to prepare for the concept of Surface 'phone'?

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Many may have read the title as "Is Microsoft killing Windows phone?", concluded that the answer is, "yes" and jumped to the comments to express their anger, snark or dismay. But that wasn't the question.
The question: "is Microsoft strangling Windows phone to prepare for the concept of a Surface phone?" That's an inherently very different question. I understand the well-rehearsed idea that Microsoft is killing Windows phone. The company's dismal performance in mobile, it's apparent apathy to marketing the first-party smartphone and it's painful silence on the matter could all be legitimately interpreted as conclusive evidence that Microsoft is indeed killing its mobile strategy.

For many Microsoft watchers, the company's collective failures in mobile from Pocket PC, Windows Mobile, Windows Phone and culminating with Windows 10 Mobile, are evidence that Microsoft has finally given up on the idea of Windows-on-mobile. I disagree.
I do, however, believe that to ensure the survival of Windows-on-mobile Microsoft has made difficult decisions that are painful for Windows-based phone loyalists, both inside and outside of Redmond, to endure. It seems Microsoft has deemed that the survival of Windows-on-mobile requires the pruning of the withering branches that are Windows phones.

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