Exactly, the Collective really isn't a Collective as it is really a malevolent viral being that infects and contaminates life.
Well, it was only supposed to be interested in technology originally. Only later did it get interested in life. For reasons unspecified. Maybe they absorbed some tech from a militant species and that was the reason?
In any case, the V'ger planet could have been an offshoot or predecessor to the Borg as seen by TNG.