Pretty certainly yes to 1 here, this is an area where most PC laptop manufacturers apparently don't care for quality at all – namely, to answer 2, they tend to use the cheapest microphones and preamps available (it has little to do with software), which is IMO absolutely ok because 3. you should always use external microphones if you care for quality at all, there really isn't any way to get truely acceptable results with standard internal laptop microphones, not with PCs and not with Macs either.
edit I hadn't listened to your video there. Well, that's really quite extreme, I've never had such a great amount of noise even with cheap PC built-ins. Sure there isn't some other source present that you're also capturing?
Anyway, as I said you'll never get good results with the hardware built into normal laptops, you need external microphones, and by that I also meant to include a proper external preamp. USB audio interfaces are a good choice, Id recommend some combination like M-Audio Fast-Track MKII and Behringer B1, though that may be a bit of an overkill depending on what you want to use it for.
As you said you can also use a USB microphone / headset.