Well, of course they want money. They're a business, and last time I checked, businesses, uh, made money. I believe it's part of their job description.
And Vista/Longhorn wasn't a "scam" like you say. It was a crappy OS, but it certainly wasn't a scam -- scam = fraud. Fraud = litigation. Nobody sued Microsoft over Vista. Sure, it was a battery and resource hogging, slow, buggy, unintuitive, annoying, unstable operating system, but to say it was a scam is going a bit too far.
And there's a reason why many people still run Windows. I'm running Xubuntu 12.10 on my box right now, and it's the best OS I've used so far -- except for the software library. GNU/Linux has a very limited software library, whereas Windows has the largest. And before you shout "WINE!", many applications do not run properly on Wine, and many recent apps aren't even supported, i.e. Adobe Creative Suite 6.
GNU/Linux still has a long way to go in terms of software, so it cannot be considered a viable replacement for Windows. Until somebody develops a native, modern, full-featured office suite and Adobe ports CS to GNU/Linux, many pro and business users are left with two options: to buy an expensive OS X machine, or to buy an expensive OS upgrade for their PC. Either way, the customer loses.
I still dual boot 7 for this very reason, even though it's not even close to Xubuntu in terms of stability. And it's not that 7 is a bad operating system, it's just that Xubuntu is so good it makes 7 look lopsided in comparison. Don't get me wrong -- Windows 7 is a very good OS, apart from the security problems, which aren't even that bad compared to previous versions of Windows. Don't run as root and you'll be O.K.
Microsoft has gotten a lot of flak lately, some of it deserved, some of it not-so-well-deserved. But they're a company. Companies make mistakes, and I don't think it's fair to label them as scammers just because they rushed an OS to market.
Yes, there are. The main problem, and by far the biggest flaw is that during setup, Windows assigns you to the root account by default. This is a gigantic security hole that has not been fixed in over 17 years. The primary reason that GNU/Linux, BSD, and UNIX systems are secure is that they do not assign the default user root. It's very dangerous. Ask anyone who has fallen for the "sudo rm -rf /" trick how they felt about the power of root access.
What makes matters worse is that there really is no equivalent of sudo in Windows, and the CLI utilities are very limited in nature. If one wants to install new software, there's no prompt to authenticate with your password -- if you are an admin, the system only presents you with a yes/no dialog box. The only way to secure a Windows environment and make it somewhat like a *nix system is by setting the hidden Administrator account password, and using a standard user account for daily tasks. If you need to install new software, you can authenticate with the admin password.
It's not a perfect solution, but unless Microsoft realizes how easy it is for malware to propagate in NT, this is the only option.