The news comes hot on the heels of reports of a major restructuring at HTC in which several key employees were forced to leave the company. It appears that HTC's chief product officer Kouji Kodera, an influential proponent of HTC's Sense, is now gone. Kodera once said that he was "very proud of HTC Sense" and that he would like to ship it on every device. Some say his departure makes a Google Edition of the HTC One all the more likely.
The HTC First was also released with the option to run stock Android instead of Facebook's Home overlay. While this move was interpreted as evidence that HTC felt unsure of Facebook's new firmware, others now see it as proof that a pure Google experience will be coming soon to the HTC One as well.
Certainly a Google Edition of the HTC One could boost HTC's sales numbers and help it compete against the Galaxy S4. While the company recently reported the sale of 5 million HTC One units, Samsung's Galaxy S4 is already the fastest selling Android ever, with 10 million units shipped and counting.